Last week, I challenged myself to go beyond words to start taking positive steps to cut down the waste I generate. It’s one thing to talk or write about cleaning up the environment … but it really hits home when I go public with what I plan to do. What if my stated goals were just talk again … another lofty goal that bites the dust in the messiness of daily life. I can fool myself but it’s tough to fall short of my goals in public.
The SouthCoast Energy Challenge asks us to look hard at how we use energy and to start making positive steps to reduce our carbon footprint. Making those changes is not easy — and I found it difficult. As an intern for the Challenge, who is enthusiastic about keeping the South Coast healthy and protecting our environment, I assumed that I would have no problem in making those first steps to reduce my waste. Last week, I wrote that I wanted to cut down on the excessive packaging and take-out containers that are my convenience go-to’s because I live alone and rarely cook at home. So how did I do? I would give myself a “C” — good intentions, poor planning but some progress as the week went on.
It was a crazy week and I found myself balancing my desire to plan ahead so I rely less on take-out meals and packaged supermarket foods and the reality of being tired and inexperienced in meal planning. I did use less take-out but, frankly, it was because my funds were low. Because of dietary restrictions, I need to eat small amounts of minimally processed foods slowly to keeps my gastrointestinal system happy. I would love to become expert at cooking healthy — but first things first. When I found that I did not have the time and money to come up with a delicious new dish, I simplified and focused on the components of a healthy meal — finding some chicken in the freezer and adding some fruits and frozen vegetables and and whole-wheat bread. My meals weren’t exciting but still nutritious. I treated myself to ice cream. Yeah, there were still some take-out but less than last week. The bottom line: I am paying attention to how I waste food and use too much packaging but I need to keep pressing on. I need to plan ahead to avoid making wasteful choices. That’s my goal for next week.