One step forward…

Posted: August 4, 2012 by grogknobb in Week 2: Reflections + Social Sustainability

What would a college student’s pledge be without a little apathy, a little effort and a little backslide. Over the past week, I can honestly say that I’ve done my best to keep my promise in mind, but life on the go, often typified by 8-10 hour periods on campus or just away from home have hindered my ability to reduce my garbage footprint. It was my goal to reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste the I put into the world as a result of my eating habits by buying in bulk, avoiding fast food and limiting my consumption of individually packages servings to those contained in recyclable bottles and cans.

In my home life this has lead to two substantial changes. The first is that I have begun to purchase and eat more fruit and veg rather than look for simple snacks like otter-pops and whatnot. The second is that I’ve begun to simply eat less. I often go to the cupboard and stare at all the goodies in plastic prisons, only to sigh dejectedly and return to my room to continue my growling competition with my stomach.

This week hasn’t been particularly difficult, but rather simple unpleasant. Understanding the fundamental goal of embedding simple sustainable thinking into the unconscious habits of everyday life has helped to encourage me to avoid blatantly disregarding the PSP, but there is a limit to how far I can go to accomplish this goal. The most difficult aspect has been those times where fast food seems the only option. In these cases there is only so much I can do, for instance refusing a plastic bag for my sandwich at Subway. At these times I try to make up for my failings by concentrating on why this isn’t a sustainable course and promising to redouble my efforts outside of these circumstances.

With regards to social sustainability, I think the obvious reply would be that this promise is hopefully going to mold some aspects of my unconscious reasoning and help me to generally reduce my food-related trash in the future without actively trying. This means very little to the world, but it might represent the idea that this type of mental reprogramming is a feasible and reasonable approach to reducing the influx of plastics into our landfills. While it may not be a matter of human rights, this very much goes towards the notion of quality of life for future generations. This is one small change we could all make to make very day a little less trashy and create a minutely cleaner world for our children. This is something that could be taught in schools (or simply adopted by school lunchrooms) and legislated by the government. If they can ban trans-fats, how hard is it to tell them they can’t wrap every single morsel of food in a pound of plastic.


  1. julie says:

    You have a great voice in your writing, Greg. When I read this, I can hear you saying it. I hope you will use your gift to do amazing things! PS. Even when you do get take out, refusing bags, packaging, or 7,000 extra napkins all make a difference. Share some pictures (or illustrations?) in your next post!

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