Happy Earth Day!

In undergrad, I was president of GREAN (grass roots environmental action now), which was the student environmental club. The project I was most proud to be part of was instituting the student green fee fund, which raises about $70,000 per year for green energy credits and sustainability projects. The first major project was subsidized Nalgene water bottles and filtered, gooseneck faucets around campus to easily refill your bottle.

Nalgene Bottle

My first Nalgene bottle at a Sustainability Conference in Indiana.

College was an easy time to live sustainably because I was poor and couldn’t live a wasteful life even if I wanted to. Yes, there are green products and services that cost a lot of money, but there are a lot of low-cost options too. I think most of sustainable living goes back to simpler living. Less packaging, reusing what you can, buying stuff that will last instead of cheap disposables. In undergrad and grad school I mostly biked or walked during the week and only drove if necessary.

Becca Andrew Take Back the Tap

Encouraging PLU students to pledge to reuse water bottles and fill from the tap.

Now, I commute to work in my SUV and feel guilty for it. I tried working close to home, but there were few marketing jobs (what my degree & passion is) and I kept getting stuck in sales situations. I made the choice to work farther from home (losing time and money to a commute) for a position I love. To make my commute a little more environmentally-friendly, I only work four days a week and have a fairly new car that gets good mileage for a SUV (but still not as good as I would like). That’s the tough thing about life – there’s always a balance and you can’t have everything.

Eric Monika Becca Beach

GREAN Field Trip to Seattle

At the end of our GREAN meetings, we would tell the club one good thing we did for the environment that week. This was a great way to not feel like you were the only weird one in your house policing the recycle bin and to gather ideas of what we could implement in our own lives.

So here are some ‘green’ things I did this past week that you could do too:

  • Ate pork and beef from my aunt’s farm, which is better for the environment than a large corporation mass producing meat
  • Recycled
  • Took my groceries home in reusable bags
  • Carpooled home for Easter with Tyler and Sherman
  • Washed clothes in cold water (I’ll always wash whites in hot though)
  • Composted food scraps
  • Reused newspaper for lining in the compost bin
  • Installed small solar lights along our flower beds

I would love to be more active in living a more sustainable lifestyle again. Life gets busy, priorities change, but your values don’t. One way I want to do be more involved again is by sharing the knowledge and experience I have acquired in sustainability through blogging ideas, tips, and projects for other people to implement. Some will be free or low-cost ideas and some will cost money. A beautiful facet of sustainability is there is something for everyone.

I'd love to hear your opinion (good or bad)!

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