What Does It Mean to Be Green Enough?
When it was just me in my little apartment , it was so easy for me to be “green enough”. I cleaned with water and vinegar, made my own reusable cleaning wipes, and I even unplugged the TV when it wasn’t in use.
Fast forward seven or eight years and I had fallen into some bad habits. I wasn’t careful about turning the lights off when I left the house, I sometimes let the water run forever before I got in the shower (usually because my children had distracted me), and I was buying those fakey, chemical-filled cloths to mop my floors (I still haven’t found a good alternative for this one, so hit me up if you have suggestions).
Sure, I also had a lot of good habits — we had our own backyard veggie garden, we eat mostly healthy, whole foods, and we recycle everything we possibly can – but I knew my vigilance had slipped.
Why did I fall into these bad habits, then?
To be totally honest with you, life caught up with me and I began to feel like the tiny steps I was taking in my own life really weren’t making a difference in the grand scheme of things. I feel guilty admitting that now, but it’s the truth.
Not long after, I found out about ShiftCon, an eco-wellness conference that sounded so awesome I just knew I had to be there. It wasn’t in the cards for me that year because I’d just had a baby, but when the opportunity came back around this year, I jumped at the chance to go (it didn’t hurt that it was in sunny SoCal). I even signed up to volunteer, which I totally plan on doing again because I got to meet so many awesome people and help an important cause!
So, what is ShiftCon?
Back to the conference — ShiftCon was the first health and wellness conference I’ve been to that felt truly inclusive and open to anyone. When I had the chance to tell Leah that this was the first time I felt like I had really found my people, she was so sweet and told me “there are all shades of green here”, from people just getting started, to those who focus on greening their skincare, to those who grow their own veggies and have chickens and goats in their yard. We all come from different walks of life, but there was no judgement whatsoever—just the most friendly women (and a few men) you could ever want to spend the weekend with!
The sessions were super-informative, ranging from protecting children from pesticides to exploring the hidden world of fragrance. Even most of the meals at the conference included keynote speeches from people in the food and health industry who are really trying to change our world for the better (and show us how we can make a difference, too).
The expo floor was full of amazing companies who care about their products and their customers – I was able to speak with representatives from Stonyfield, Applegate, Made in Nature, Earth Mama Organics, American Grassfed, Organic Valley, Boiron, and more.
With our tickets, we also got some pretty amazing swag from all of these companies. I’ve already found some new favorites. 🙂 Did I mention the friendships? I still keep in touch with many of the women I met during the weekend and I can’t wait to see them again next year.
The most important thing I learned that weekend is that there are things we can all do, even seemingly unimportant things, to make this world and our homes greener, safer, and happier for ourselves and our children.
If you want to join me next year (and you totally should), follow along here for updates.
I’m not trying to be perfect, I’m just trying to be Green Enough.
A highlight of my weekend was getting to learn more about Leah’s upcoming book, Green Enough, which was coming out soon after the conference. I really, really love Leah’s approach to green living because she totally gets that none of us can do it all. Well, you could try, but you would drive yourself and your family crazy in the process. Her tagline in the book is, “This home is green enough to be healthy, and chill enough to be happy.”
It’s so easy to feel guilty (especially when we fall into the social media comparison trap!) that we aren’t doing enough for our families or to just give up because we feel like we can’t do it all. Leah’s book gives you the knowledge to make the choices that work for your family and the confidence to forget about the comparison game and trust your own mama instincts.
That being said, she definitely points out the things that are most important to change ASAP, and those that aren’t as critical. For example, she is pretty clear about which types of plastic are the most dangerous (a.k.a. they could be leaching dangerous chemicals into your food and drinks), but doesn’t tell you to immediately throw out everything plastic in your home. She also shares which foods are most important to purchase organic and which are generally safe to go with conventional (yea for saving money).
What else does she cover in this super-handy green guide? On top of produce and storage containers, she also goes over cookware, food packaging, quality meat and dairy, household products, skincare and grooming products, and she even includes a bunch of recipes. What I really love is that she doesn’t leave you hanging wondering, “So I know what I want to change, but now what?”, she includes a ton of recommendations for food brands and other household products from companies that are doing things the right way are care about your health and the quality of their products.
What were my main takeaways from ShiftCon and Green Enough?
Number 1 – small changes can make a difference! If we all made our homes a teensy bit more energy efficient or better conserved resources like water, we could make a big impact on our Earth. If we all demanded higher quality food and products for our home and families, the big companies would listen and make those products more readily available.
And, last but not least, don’t let perfect get in the way of good (or green) enough. Nobody can do it all, and nobody should feel guilty because they feel like they aren’t doing enough. Start small and make the changes that you can make today. Tomorrow, you can make a couple more. If you need a helping hand, Leah’s book will help to show you the way…and probably make you laugh a few times in the process.