Renewing my commitment

So hey there, Simple Year friends. I’m writing this post with a kitten crawling up my arm. That’s not necessarily an important detail. It’s just that I’m trying to figure out what I want to say, so I’m saying what’s easiest first.

Which is that I have a kitten who is trying to help me type. I don’t want to complain, but wow, Bear is a terrible writer. She can barely even reach the keyboard.


I’ve been a little depressed the past couple of weeks. The United States now has a president-elect who doesn’t believe in climate change and is getting ready to dismantle the environmental regulations set up by the current administration. As someone who does believe in climate change and feels a personal responsibility-slash-stewardship for the planet, that’s been hard to digest. I mean, what am I supposed to do with that?

Like, what’s the point of trying to go zero waste? If we’re just going to roll back regulations on basically everything, what can I even hope to achieve over here?

I had a terrible shopping cart the weekend before the election — I have tater tots in my freezer, for pete’s sake. I let anxiety get the best of me and in that moment, I felt like giving up. I kind of did give up. (I also got barbecued chips. And yogurt.)

But just this Wednesday, sanity resurfaced in my soul, and I realized that giving up is not the answer. Because I cannot accept that there is nothing that can be done.

So I’ve been researching environmental groups, both here in Oregon and nationwide. I’ve been paying attention to the little victories that come each day: The gas station that scans credit cards electronically now so there’s no receipts, the barrel of cloth bags at the grocery store for anyone who forgot theirs, a borrowed kitten bottle. And I am recommitting to my zero waste project.

Because you know what? I really do believe that every bit helps. I can’t win the whole war by myself, but I can win a few battles — and it helps so much to know that I’m not the only one fighting for this. And together, we will make a difference.

I don’t know what else to say. I’m still here, and I’m still trying. That’s all any of us can do.

15 Responses to Renewing my commitment

  1. Hi! When reading this I thought of a couple things. Personal stewardship is a long term commitment, no matter who is in office. Other people are being impacted and changed by your (perceived) small contribution- I think of my kids and how they watch me- and one day they are going to be making decisions for everyone else. So you are setting the groundwork for others. I tell my kids keep doing what is right just because it is right. No matter what the outcome. So keep pressing on, living by your values.

    • Thank you, Elisabeth. I like this especially: “I tell my kids keep doing what is right just because it is right. No matter what the outcome.” A good lesson for all of us!

  2. You can solve a problem from the top down (regulations/EPA) but you can also solve a problem from the bottom up (one person at a time). Right now you are changing your own lifestyle, instilling good values in your kids, sharing with the people in your community and spreading the word all over the globe through this blog. Your blogging is the very first place I heard about zero waste so all my zero waste successes are your successes too!

    And I wouldn’t worry about our president elect too much yet. Presidential candidates always make huge promises about sweeping change (especially those who have never been president before) and very few of those become real permanent changes.

    • Nice way of looking at it — I can do ground up!

      I’d be less concerned if cabinet choices so far weren’t so alarming. But it’s true he’s just one guy. Maybe cooler heads will prevail.

  3. Hang in there. I also feel rather depressed about the election. On the other hand, here in California we’ve finally passed a single-use plastic bag ban. And I had the guts to talk to someone about while shopping this week. People are making positive changes, at the state and individual level, which will have a continuing impact, despite presidential-elect rhetoric.

    • LOVE that California passed that ban! Our mayor and city council are working towards a one use plastic bag ban here — they’re very close to passing that, and I am so excited! I forgot to add that to my good things list above. I hope all of Oregon comes next!

  4. I feel your pain and have been depressed as well….but I’m trying to renew my courage to push forward as well because mostly, what will I tell my 5 and 7 yr old when the environment does collapse? that I was too lazy and busy to try to do anything to help? At any rate…since you mentioned that even a few people can make big things happen it reminded me of this video from Bombas sock company that I saw the other day. Thought it might brighten your day as well. A few people in this company ARE making a big difference, so if they can do it with socks, why can’t we do it with our environmentally conscience choices?

  5. When you complete your research on environmental groups, will you share? I have a desire to donate to one that is vetted and dedicated to the same types of issues as you.

    • It really does … I forgot that for a minute. And all of these comments make me feel so much better. I’m not alone! 🙂

  6. I wholeheartedly agree with the bottom up approach. Local/seasonal eating didn’t become a thing because of laws and regulations. It became a thing because everybody talked about it and promoted it.
    Also, I’m a firm believer in voting with my money. We’re a capitalist society and that’s what “they” listen to. Buy from companies that practice an ecological ethos, and write letters to the rest explaining WHY they have lost your “vote”.

    • Thank you, Rachel — I believe in voting with my money too, and I remember when the local movement started coming about … I just didn’t think of those things in terms of the environment and what I’m doing here. (Lightbulb!) I’m feeling better about all of this all the time!

  7. Pingback: Forget those packaged energy bars … | The Simple Year

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