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On The Path Toward Sustainability, What Is The Most Difficult Thing To Change?

Me - a bit futzed with because I can never seem to take an in-focus picture of myself!!


Don’t be shy! Let’s get it out in the open and help one another surmount these obstacles. Come on, everyone join in! I know there are lots of you out there that never comment (grr), so now is the time to enter the discussion – just one thing is all!

Ok, here are mine. I have three. And they’re difficult to admit. Here goes…


What’s The Most Difficult Thing For Me To Change?

Cooking. Gasp. I know! I’m good at it, and occasionally I enjoy it, but overall? Not my favorite thing. Pretty much all the recipes I post here are quick and easy, because I am so busy doing other things that I have a tough time spending 2 hours cooking dinner. But I’m learning more and more recipes of the quick yet splendid variety. And I’m very much enjoying the fact that my husband does like cooking and is very good at it (counting my lucky stars!). But if you have any more quick and easy recipes that use seasonal food, I’d LOVE to hear them!

Cat Litter. I’m admitting something big here. Some of you may remember our cat litter sagas when we had to make Raisin an indoor cat due to the risk of increased pesticide exposure.

We tried dirt from the yard, and then composting the remains in our non-food garden. But there were bugs in the house, the dirt smelled, and now we live in an apartment so we can’t do it anymore. We tried the recycled newsprint options. But Raisin hated it, it ended up everywhere because she kicked it around, and we had to change it way too often. We’re wary of the corn and wheat products because they would use valuable food (and land and pesticides) for our cat’s poop. Seems wrong somehow.

So we’ve been using… clay. Without any additives or chemicals or anything, and we have found ways to extend its use. But clay that is mined and not so great for the environment in several different ways. Sigh. Any suggestions? I’m all ears!!

Debt. School debt. Lots of it. I fell into the student trap, and accrued more debt than I should have. I am working hard volunteering (in community organizations and this blog!), and I’m starting a new business that will eventually make money. Basically, I spend my time doing good things for the world at the expense of my private debt. Put that way, it doesn’t sound so bad. But the debt does hang over my head, and it makes us more vulnerable in the current economy.

There. I said it. Big Sigh.

Your Turn!!

Time to be honest so that we can help one another. Everyone, please help and respect one other, as we’re all making ourselves vulnerable here.

Ok, One… Two… Three… Lay it on the line!

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59 comments to On The Path Toward Sustainability, What Is The Most Difficult Thing To Change?

  • I feel like I’ve dropped so far off of the environmentally-friendly bandwagon that I don’t know how to get back on. Living with family while I wait for my move to be complete has removed all sense of control for my living space, so while my personal products are environmentally sound and sustainable, household stuff is not. It’s winter, and I have no garden nor the ability to begin planting plans (since I don’t know what space I’ll have), and have used all of the stores I put up with last year’s harvest (since 3 people were eating them, not 1).

    I’m actively working toward my sustainable, urban future (80 days and counting), but just holding up and continuing to do what little I *can* in the face of so much discouragement is the hard part.

    (As for cat litter, I chose the same way you did – mainly because I couldn’t determine that clay vs. corn/wheat was notably better, and the corn/wheat cost ate into my local + organic food budget.)

  • *blush* Plastics, it really is my downfall. I have a pantry full of tupperware, drawers full of plastic bags from fruit shops and a huge bag of shopping bags. So far I’m leaning on the fact that I’m reusing them all, the bags I use to bring my fruit home then gets reused in other situations, shopping bags are used for storage or carrying things, finally for the rubbish but I’m really struggling with plastics.

  • Composting. I really want to start, but it seems like such an overwhelming task to start. Plus, I live in the Northeast, so its about 10 degrees out right now with a foot of snow and I’m not sure you CAN compost during the winter here! (well, at least not outside, and the inside things seem to cost A LOT of money…)

  • Great topic. I posted something similar a while back.

    Changingways and I have the plastic container thing in common. I have tons of them because I make a lot of soups and sauces to freeze. I also have lots of ziplock bags. Both I reuse until they fall apart.

  • Not that I don’t have personal pitfalls, but honestly my biggest challenge is finding sustainable goods. We don’t have access to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. We do fine with food but it is the little things that get me. For example, it is a 1/2 hour drive one way to buy fair trade coffee. I’d like recycled tissues but not a 48 count package from! I’ve gotten pretty creative and do order a lot online and stock up when I find something special. Still, lack of resources (or finding them) is without a doubt my biggest obstacle.

    Along the same lines, it would be much easier if there were more “green” people in my area to learn from. I soak up a ton of information online but it would still help a lot to get hands on experiences of sustainable households and how they function.

    Overall I think I have it pretty good. Our friends and family have been really great and I feel good about the little steps we are taking.

  • Dawna

    I’m working on eliminating paper towels but it’s very hard. Our six animals are constantly drooling or leaving “GI messes” all over the place and paper towels have always been the go to thing for quick clean up, not to mention using them to clean spills, wipe down counters, wash the appliances… With severe ezcema on my hands I can’t always be reaching for a wet rag, I really need to be sure to keep my hands dry, and putting on gloves before reaching for the rag every time is tedious, but I’m working on it. It’s been a struggle, but I’m committed to giving it my best shot.

  • I’m using plastic compostable (supposedly) bags to pick up my dog’s poop. This bothers me, but I haven’t come up with a good and sanitary replacement.

    I use shampoo/conditioner/deodorant/laundry detergent from the store and they aren’t green.

    My husband insists on using our wood burning fireplace and we use real wood, because the java logs and such are too expensive.

    We have to be creative and very frugal, which means sometimes we just can’t buy local food or organic food, if our budget is too tight. A family of four living on one person’s middle-income paycheck doesn’t get us too far, particularly when the two adults have lots of student loans and debt, too!

  • With the exception of the cat litter and fireplace thing, I can pretty much second everyone else’s posting. I think the hardest for me though is trying not to seem like a crazy person all the time.

  • I’m addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper. I buy the two-liter and use a reusable mug at work, then recycle the bottle, but it’s still very bad, for me and the environment, but I can’t help it! I don’t like coffee…or even tea much. I don’t drink or smoke, diet dr. pepper is my biggest vice when it comes to that…

    I also drive my myself to work. 25 minutes one way. Alone, in my big Honda Accord. I drive pass a coworkers house every day. I tried to commute with her, but she’s a smoker and I just can’t do it.

    An increasingly tight budget and limited availability has also affected my organic/local/sustainable purchases.

    There’s more, but these are the two I feel the worst about…and now I feel a little better!

  • DSF

    Cheap kitchen gadgets. I’m trying to wean myself off them, but the cure seems a lot like that old joke about how to get a woman to stop spending money on gloves–the solution is more expensive than the problem!

    Though high-quality multi-purpose appliances and utensils really do make sense, it’s hard to think of a new microplane as an investment in my future.

    …frosty buckets…

  • The holidays really didn’t help me. We started buying a bit more of the packaged stuff. Not terrible and I’m getting back into cooking again but still I just ate instant oatmeal with breakfast – even though I could have made it just as easily from bulk. Bad Green Bean, Bad!

    Even worse and longer term is my driving. Last spring and summer, I was doing a fantastic job of walking or biking everything, having car free days all the time. Then my oldest son changed schools and it is too far to walk. We carpool but it’s not as much as I would like.

    We then also moved my other son to a different preschool. His was never close enough to walk to and so far that I’d only bike there once a month or so. It’s much further now and I haven’t been able to find a carpool.

    I feel like I’m in the car all the time. We have a rental right now that is a Ford Focus. Get’s awesome gas mileage and we’re considering getting a small car, maybe a hybrid, as it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to cut down on driving any time soon.

  • The hot tub. There, I’ve admitted it, and hang my head in shame. I know it’s a big energy sucker, and completely unnecessary, but I really love lying back in the water and looking up at the stars. I like that it’s a place my husband and I can relax and talk, real conversations uninterrupted by electronic media or general busyness. But I really do feel guilty about it – enough that I have second thoughts about posting photos on my blog where it can even be seen in the background. I’m making strides on cutting down on using plastics, disposable paper, and the car, but really don’t want to even think about giving up the spa.

  • I think for us it is electricity, we grow most of our own food, dairy, meats, vegetables and fruit, but we use freezers for our meat and butter, and fruits. Nutritionally speaking, I don’t want to can everything, and environmentally speaking I don’t want to buy these products when I can produce them here. But I can’t shake the guilt of having to/need to cut even more consumption.

    A note on plastics, last year I had a uterine fibroid removed, and my ND suggested less plastics for food storage. So I now freeze quite a bit of my food in canning jars. Which are reusable and last forever (almost) if I don’t drop them. But, that plastic is so convenient. Trying to avoid plastic is hard, our butcher uses plastic for meat wrapping, and on further investigation even freezer paper now is coated in plastic. Sigh.

  • N.

    We still buy a lot of packaged foods now that we no longer have access to a Whole Foods with a good bulk bin section. I could probably find someplace in Lancaster County that sells bulk items but I haven’t been motivated to do more than an internet search that was fruitless.

    Despite living in a walkable city with public transportation we still take our car just about everywhere. It costs much more for both of us to take public transportation than it would cost us in gas and since it’s winter neither one of us wants to bike or walk.

    Marie- I live in the northeast and we compost with worms. The worms cost $10-$15 I think and they live in a rubbermaid container we bought for $5. They don’t smell and they can live in the basement year round.

  • Plastics – my favorite yogurt comes in plastic tubs – which get reused for leftovers, freezer containers, planting containers, etc. But still. And plastic bags – can’t seem to break myself of them. We use fewer, but we still use a lot. Not for groceries or produce, but for freezing produce, packing lunches, sending leftovers home with other people.

    Propane – we use it to heat our house and our water. We use less than a lot of people we know, but still. It seems like the stove has been on 24×7 for a month with the crappy weather.

    On cat litter – our cat doesn’t have a box because he’s outside 3/4 of the time and asks to go out when he needs to. BUT, you can toilet train a cat if you have a smart cat and the patience. My cat used to be toilet trained years ago (he’s 12) but isn’t anymore. It was actually pretty easy to do and we only backslid when he became a mostly outdoor cat (likes to pee on carpet, just because).

  • deb

    Trying to get my family to give up plastic is our biggest challenge. I use reusable shopping bags, but the rest of them won’t.

  • I am such a bath girl! I know it’s awful. I know short luke warm or even cold showers would be so much better for the environment that my long really full really hot bath, but I LOVE IT! I love it and I don’t want to give it up. Do I really have to?

  • Nappies and driving.

    I have two preschoolers – aged four (mildly autistic, so a bit behind on the toilet training) and one – and they’re both still in nappies. That’s still filling our bins up – and still costing us a fortune.

    And driving. I don’t do a lot, but getting rid of the car altogether is something I’d like to do. Still off the cards though, while we have two young kids – they can walk well, both of them, but not long distances. Anything above a kilometre is too hard to ask.

    I’m hoping both of these will be solved by the time they go to school!

    I’d guess cars would be the biggie for most people in Western societies, though overall.

  • SusanB

    Plastic — plastic in food packaging (asian stores around here seem to swath everything in plastic); plastic in garden supplies, both packaging and planters.

    Imported food — certain ethnic aspects of our diet are non-negotiable and “Made in Japan” is sometimes almost a Good Housekeeping sign of approval. And while we try for organic and fair trade, cost and familiarity and convenience too frequently win out.

    Swimming in the winter — which requires driving to the health club. And on behalf of my partner, I’ll add indoor tennis and driving thereto. (But we don’t drive to work).

    Hot baths — especially in the winter and after gardening

    Guitar amps,etc.

  • Those damnable shopping bags I can’t seem to remember- I remember my to go cup no problem but my shopping bags? Go figure. That and those certain sales clerks who don’t see my shopping bags and put everything in a plastic bag- especially the one who said Oh and put the plastic shopping bag inside my cloth one (Grumble)

  • Try “yesterdays news” or schweat scoop (wheat litter) for the kitty. I actually tried both, but had a couple hold outs in the herd so we switched back to the scooping litter….i did stop scooping it into plastic bags to throw out now though, im using newspaper. Our biggest drain is HOT SHOWERS…not one person in this house would know how to give those up.

  • Barbara

    Cat litter for me too! We let our two cats outside during the day
    and lock them in at night. I always hope they’ll take care of their
    business so to speak while they’re still out but, of course, they

    Food miles is another bad one for me since I cook mostly Asian
    food and a lot of the more esoteric ingredients simply aren’t
    made in Australia. But it’s alot better than it was when I first
    came here 20-odd years ago.

  • Ok, I confess- I’m really bad! I color my hair- there, I said it. I started going gray in my 20s. I tried for a long time to not be vain but when I was out with my youngest (now 8) and someone asked if he was my grandchild- that hurt! It’s rather addicting- once you start it’s hard to stop.
    For Dawna- when we had 3 dogs and a cat and 2 small children we started using what we termed ‘dog rags’. We cut up old sweatshirts and such. You can fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and water. A spray or two on the spot, wipe it up with a dry rag and presto- no more mess. We had a basket where we would collect them (shake out any ‘stuff’) and wash them once a week or so separately from the rest of the laundry.

  • Plastic bags for putting the kitty litter in. Pet wastes have to be double bagged here and the environmentally “friendly” bags break down too fast (I have once a month pick up).

    My sweet tooth. It’s mostly an organic/fair trade sweet tooth, but I could do better.

    Hot baths. I’ve been back sliding a little on this one. I do love a hot bath.

  • [...] see? I’m working on that cooking issue I have! This is a great recipe to make for friends coming over for dinner. It’s easy but [...]

  • I hate being a two car family, but my husband has to commute for work and I am home with a baby and our location just isn’t walk or bike friendly for most of our needs. We’re trying to work on this now.

    My other issue is being vegan. Sometimes the “animal friendly” option isn’t the “environmentally friendly” option, go figure!

  • I’ve pages of things I struggle with, but…

    Sustainability is about living locally. Finding local sources for food, water, energy, and ways to return all our “waste” to the local resource pool is key.

    For me the biggest challenge is getting past the idea that I can do it all myself. Sustainability has to be a community effort. There are things I can do that others in my community can’t and things that they can do that I can’t. Building that network is Key. END OF DIATRIBE.

  • debra

    cat litter is a big deal. we have two of the furry little poop machines and while one will tolerate the recycled newsprint and homemade option, the other made her opinion quite clear behind my couch… repeatedly.

    electricity. it’s tough to get the kids to remember to turn the lights off when they leave a room. my middle son tends to fall asleep while reading and, because i work nights, i dont know until it’s too late. is there a way to put a timer on a wall switch?

    getting one project done before i start another. there are bags and bags and bags of cans, bottles and plastic in my garage. the city picks up plastic and metal but over the summer we decided to recycle the metal privately. they dont take glass and i havent been proactive about finding a place nearby that does. so it’s all stacking up in my garage. then that all fell by the wayside so we could build the chicken coop and the rabbit hutch and the… well, neither the coop or the hutch have been built. the rabbit is in a pen in the garage and the chickens are STILL in the spare bathroom. i swear that one morning i’m going to find eggs in the bathtub!

    the other day the clerk put my groceries in a plastic bag and when i asked her to put them in the reusable bag, she took them out, placed them in my bag and the THREW AWAY the plastic bag because it was used! i was buying a box of mints and a bottle of milk. not exactly toxic substances.

    i’ve found that if i put the bags in the car when i’m done unpacking them i’m much more likely to remember to take them into the store.

  • monica

    LOL about the student loan debts. Ha.
    Remember when times were good and the big thing was “borrow and you can pay it off after you graduate and get a job” or “borrow what your employer won’t give to you as a perk.” Ha. But that was when people had jobs-Ha.

    Now I am back to school again. I just graduated with 3 associates degrees, was an officer in the honor society. That was in May 2008–I had 2 interviews the entire summer.

    I am so ready to return to work and bring home a paycheck instead of another tuition bill. That is my plan of reduction–no more school until I get hired SOMEWHERE (then they can foot the bill!!)

  • Oooh, I love this conversation! Thank you all for laying it out there – please continue! I’m listening and will take this all to heart in my next posts. Also I know there are a few questions here, and I’ll be sure to address them – but want to make sure others have time to comment. Please continue!

  • I have found buying food wisely the biggest challenge…I buy some locally grown organic…but still the large majority of our food is highly packaged and has been transported great distances…We also eat WAYY too much dairy. I am also tempted far too often by take-away coffee in disposable cups and chocolate. I also drive too much. Mmm. maybe I should stop there! Great post.. Cheers, Tricia

  • becky

    this virtual community online keeps me going with hope, information and inspiration. however, what i long for is a real community of real people. i read about other communities with classes on preserving foods, baking bread, food storage, community gardens etc. and then i look locally for the same and consistently run into a blank wall. like alan says above, there is the path you can walk alone and then there are those situations which just scream out for community to act on together. this has really been getting me down lately.

    car driving is creeping back up. my bike needs two new wheels, about equivalent to the price i paid for the bike. i can’t decide what to do and while i mull this over, the car is getting me to and from the library. and i’ve tacked on an additional car destination, a whole foods store, about 7 miles away. i can buy bulk foods there, skip the packaging, but then i’m trading the gas to get there.

    third, cooking. i feel kinda cooked out lately. i’m hanging in there but it’s more effort than joy.

  • I don’t know that we can reduce our driving, unless we never see our family again. Even just driving to work (and we carpool, in a Prius!) keeps us driving too much.

    I’m also stuck on electricity. There’s no natural gas out by us, so the dryer (which we only use for socks and towels), water heater, and the stove/oven have to be electric.

    I’d love to have a good benchmark for what’s “enough.” When I get to that benchmark, or as low as I can realistically go, would it make more sense for me to enable others to get their households closer to the mark? If I could get my parents to pluck the same low-hanging fruit that I have, I think it would have more impact than me reducing my driving another 10%.

  • Commuting is still my biggie. When we had all the kids lie down on the floor while a guns-drawn drug bust took place across the street, we figured it was time to get out of town — sixteen years later, I still miss my bicycle commute — and now I’m getting old. The best I can do is drive five miles to a park-and-ride as my alternative to driving 14 miles to the job. OTOH, I retire in two years and this really is the country. We’ve quadrupled the garden and pasture.

    On electricity, we done good. Our usage is down more than fifty percent over last year.

    And here’s my latest homegrown recipe.

    risa b

  • Hello, my name is Carla, and I’m a newspaper subscriber. Never mind that I recycle them, I COULD be reading it online when I get to work – except that the online version doesn’t have all the interesting, juicy little bits that I subscribe to read – like what the St. Vinnie’s specials are for the month, or that the Farmer’s Market is trying to do a Winter Market indoors this year. And since the snows started, our very conscientious paper carrier is putting each copy inside TWO plastic bags! AURGHH!

    I try to use newspapers for everything that I can think of, and the bags, too – I even made a draft dodger for the front door (see my blog) using those bags.

    The best way to start my day is sitting with a cup of coffee (after the kitties are fed & watered, of course!) and reading the paper before I have to start getting ready for work. When I can’t do that (paper is late due to weather, etc.), I’m just all out of sorts (sigh).

    Oh, yeah – the kitty litter thing, too. With 3 cats who are indoors all winter, it adds (piles?) up. But I use those newspaper bags to disposed of it… a double whammy?!?

  • Plastics for me for sure! I feel like I’ve reduced as much as I can and still it keeps piling up! I’ve learned how to crochet plastic bags into things, but now I just need to sit down and do it!

    The other thing I often get conflicted about is going out for meals with my awesome dude guy. I try and justify it by telling myself that we are supporting small, local businesses, we only eat vegetarian and we take our own containers for leftovers, but still…..

  • Lyn

    I have 2.
    The first is buying convenience foods, processed and with lots of packaging, eg muesli bars, tiny tins of flavoured tuna. I cook our meals, but it’s the between-meals snacks that are my downfall, especially when we are all at work/school. It’s just so much easier to grab a handfull of these snack products than package up healthy foods into small containers ourselves. We could take fruit, but just fruit on its own is a bit boring day after day. I know how to solve this, I just don’t have the determination yet.
    The other one I have actually determined to change. This is buying lots of magazines. They’re all useful ones, gardening, green living, crafts, etc, but I collected up about 50 recently ( a few years worth)and decided it’s too big a waste. I’ve given them away on freecycle and have decided if I want to read magazines, I’ll borrow them from the library, read them online, or just do without.

  • Wow! What an amazing response. This would be an interesting group to be part of if there is someone smart enough to facilitate it.

  • Wow- I am very late to this discussion but I will add my list to the group:

    Cat Litter- same as you. We actually did try the wheat but it got really gluey and gross. The pine stuff tracks all over the place and has to be completely replaced way more often than the clay. The paper pellets the cats didn’t like at all and it smelled. We’re back to clay. I would like to find a good alternative but so far I don’t feel there’s anything better.

    Plastic bags for produce- I always store my vegetables in those plastic produce bags in the fridge. When I don’t everything either dries out or wilts.

    Foodsaver bags- Using my foodsaver to freeze food in results in a substantially higher quality of frozen food but most of them are not reusable if they get any oil or tomatoes on them. I worry about toxins from the plastic contaminating us but things frozen in tupperware type containers (also plastic!) and glass jars don’t last as long and the quality is not good.

    Those are mine. It makes me feel lousy but I can’t seem to make a switch.

  • Heyyyyy…isn’t this a relatively new blog. I read the kitty story when you lived by a vinyard on another blog, I think.

    1. The dryer

    2. The car

    3. and me too on the debt

  • Bettina

    -Still buying chocolate and sweets, which is expensive and much plastic-wrapped.

    -My little boy needs some toilet-training, so we can stop using throw-away diapers.

    -Plastic bags for freezing vegetables.

    Proud that I lately managed to stop the (my personal) use of paper handkerchiefs. Now I use cotton hankies. They are even softer on the nose. I love them – but I get weird looks at the office or in the train when using them. I even hadn’t to buy new ones, I found a huge stash in the linen cupboard. Even original packaged ones – all from my mother.

    I made a check-list last year, about new habits I want to make part of my life (more canning, using cotton hankies, grow more onions, and so on , and things to buy (e.g. a used bicycle, a hand-powered grain mill …)
    I’m very proud when I see what I achieved last year, but still a long long way to go…

  • I’m not nearly as good at this as most of you.
    - Air travel for work. I do a lot of this. Soon, our company will start offsetting the carbon, but I don’t think that makes it “all better.”
    - Eating non-local food while out at restaurants. I’m traveling most of the time, and although I have researched some places, sometimes you have to go where you can. My husband and I also eat out quite a bit while I’m home for the weekends because we don’t want to use up our time together with grocery shopping and cooking.
    - Car use. When I’m in town, I commute 12 miles to the office. I generally ride the light rail system in the warmer months, but I’m a slacker when it’s cold and wet.
    - Plastic. Ditto what everyone else has said.
    - Doggy doo. I still have not found a good answer for disposal of pet waste. The bags theoretically biodegrade, but that’s doubtful in a landfill. We have clay soil, so the pet waste composters are not recommended for our area.
    - Imported foods. Chocolate, tea, coffee, sugar, etc.
    - Over-eating. I know this may not be immediately obvious, but when we eat more than we need to fuel our bodies, we have a heavier impact on the planet.

    We do try to buy local, support local and small businesses, turn down the thermostat, and other things. These are just the ones I know we need to work on next…

  • You knw the doggy doo problem- I think just taking a poop scopp with you and then emptying it in the garbage should work fine- now for the kitty problem-I use one of those all natural kitty litters (but not swheat) and I just dump it all in the garbage- no bag nothing! I suppose I could dump it in the Yardwaste one when I think about it. I could also scoop out the poop, put it in the the doggy dooley and compost it when I think even harder about it. Owwwww I thought tooo hard!

  • Meg

    Dyeing my hair with commercial poisons that make it go the brightest most beautiful colour red.

  • Wow! So many comments! (obviously, I haven’t checked here in a while – no internet in my apartment). I’ll just say that EVERYTHING is most difficult for me to change and then read the rest. ;) (okay – specifically – community-oriented. I don’t really know how to get along with people.)

  • I have too many plastics and am working on changing over to glass where I can but darn it is sooo much easier to put hubby’s lunch in a nice little plastic container for work…then again I know that he will microwave in it, ughhh!

    Long hot showers, I have 5 kids and really the only time I get any peace is in the shower so I stand there till the hot water is gone. I need to learn to meditate or something.

    Laundry is the biggest baddest enviro mess around here. I do a lot. I have 4 boys, we live on a farm…add the two and you get the dirtiest clothes imaginable. I find myself using too many harsh ingrediants to try to get all the clothes clean. I also don’t use a drying line. I know I should but everyone complains that they are ‘itchy’ my husband the most loudly. I should hang them and throw them in the dryer for just a couple of minutes to soften, but I just can’t find the time to do it.

    Yes I so many things right but have so very far I could go to help the planet and make my life more sustainable. Great post! Kim

  • I still use my dryer too much.
    I’m a Coca Cola addict and doing what I can to kick this bad habit. And I buy it in cans too. :(
    I’ve been forgetful with bringing my reusable bags to the store.
    Eating too much fast food.
    I’ve also slacked off with seeking out more local and sustainable food sources.
    We have too many mass-market health & beauty products to use up. I’ll be glad when they’re gone. :)

  • My main vice is probably driving to work (30 min each way) alone every day. I have a very efficient Corolla, but still. I can’t work out any better options, either. Public transport takes an hour each way, plus you’re hot and sweaty by the time you arrive at work (or home). There’s nobody from my workplace near me, and my route is a freeway so if I stop off to pick up a coworker in one of the suburbs along the way it’ll add another 20 minutes to the trip. I’m not sure what to do about this one.

    Another vice would be watering the vegie garden with town water. I know it uses less water than commercially-grown food, but I still use a fair bit (especially when the weather is hot). I’m hoping to fix this one soon – 5,000 litre rainwater tank under the house and hopefully a greywater system as well. Still exploring options, but hopefully I’ll get some quotes soon.

  • Plastic. I’ve eliminated a lot of it, e.g., I now store leftovers in the fridge in a bowl with an inverted plate on top. That works great for microwaving stuff too. But I haven’t figured out what to use if I want to freeze something. If I freeze something like hummus in a glass jar, won’t the jar break?

  • [...] have to tell you something. First of all, I just plain loved the conversation we’ve been having about the things we are having a tough time surmounting on our path toward sustainability. Loved [...]

  • [...] On the path to sustainability: What’s the most difficult thing to change? by One Green Generation [...]

  • [...] this kind of change also goes right along with One Green Generation’s post last week about the one thing (or several things) that are really hard to change on the path to [...]

  • There are two things that I can think of off the top of my head (although there are probably more…)

    First, hot showers. I do my best thinking in the shower. I’m writing my dissertation, which requires rather a lot of thinking. This is really not a good combo from an environmental perspective.

    Two, take-out food. Now, I don’t do this on my own – I cook and bake from scratch all the time when I’m alone, from bulk ingredients, with lots of beans and grains and whatever organics I can get. But, when my boyfriend comes to visit, it all goes out the window, and in comes the takeout. And, while it’s nice to support a local business (mmm…thai food), all that styrofoam is horrific. I know it’s bad, but I just go along with it anyway for whatever reason – maybe that’s something to think about.

  • [...] you all for your great comments the other day. I appreciate your honesty very much, and it was interesting to read your answers. I was thinking [...]

  • Jessi

    Coffee. Coffee is my big weakness. I buy the good stuff for home, but it still comes from many, many miles away. I buy lattes and the like way too often, and I’m horrible about remembering a metal cup.

    I’ve really enjoyed reading these responses.

    I am kinda surprised so many people let their cats be outside. My kitties have to stay inside, I’m not willing to let them go after the songbirds. I’m curious what other people think about that. Do you let your cats outside? Do you keep them inside? How did you come to a decision about that? I imagine a lot of it depends upon where you live. I know some places a cat is a better choice than, say, rat poison.

  • [...] Last week several of us said that moving away from hot baths, long showers, and hot tubbing was one of the most difficult things to change on this path toward living a sustainable life. Most of the reasons were that it helps us relax, and it’s where we do a lot of thinking. [...]

  • Jessi, I think letting cats outside or not is a very personal decision. I felt very strongly that our cat in the country – who was half feral – should be able to go out as she pleases. Also much better environmentally for her to go outside to do her business, rather than us having to do the cat litter thing. But my opinion changed completely. Here’s why.

  • [...] Towards sustainability, lifestyle, what is the most difficult thing to change? [...]

  • [...] the bane of my sustainable existence.  I’ve written about this before and the problem hasn’t gone away!  Back when we lived in the country, the most [...]

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