I can’t believe I finally get to say these six beautiful words: I’m halfway through my green challenge.
At this point, part of me is thrilled about counting down to when I’ll be able to take a ride on my sister’s motorcycle, drink a cold beer, get a hot shower and blow-dry my hair. But another part of me knows that, in fact, this is a lifelong challenge. Most of the changes I’ve made so far are ones I plan on keeping up, even if they do require some effort.
I won’t be buying a car anytime soon, for example, nor will I be switching back to chemical-based cleaners or beauty products, and there isn’t any reason to fish the water bottle out from my toilet tank. I hope to continue eating organic dairy, free-range eggs and as vegetarian a diet as possible — although I may turn my oven back on to bake a few sustainable pies.
In terms of what August has meant to me, I’d have to say it’s been all about learning. The cycling trip I took through the valleys of Oregon taught me volumes about permaculture, off-the-grid living and the indisputable importance of eating local and organic food — I even managed to get over my aversion to vegans and their weird victual obsessions like quinoa and nutritional yeast.
I also learned, when I was trying to break a $20 bill for some change the other day, that there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING, at the 7-11 that I can eat, use or consume in any way. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of flashy brand names that, in exchange for my hard-earned money, offered only MSG wrapped in styrofoam.
I learned that eggs can last unrefrigerated for up to three weeks, that there’s an organic ice cream store around the corner from me, that dryer lint can go in the compost bin, that Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market continue into the fall, and that you can do pretty much anything with some vinegar, baking soda and a jar of coconut oil.
So with that, let’s green on! I hope you all stick around and remind me that this isn’t just about an individual journey, it’s a collective effort — and it’s getting stronger every day.