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Sustain Dane staff eat bananas too

Posted: 11:13AM November 3rd, 2011 | Comments

One of the joys of working in the sustainability field is having your personally definition of what it means to live a sustainable life be pushed. On the flip side, one of the hazards is the eco-police stereotype (2012 Halloween costume?!?) and the all or nothing attitude about "living green".

The other day, I walked out of the coop with a loaf of bread in one hand and a bunch of banana's in the other. Notice I forgot my cloth bag, but also declined a one time use bag since I only purchased two items. I ran into someone who knows me professionally. We ended up in a friendly conversation about still buying banana's even though they are not local. This conversation, illustrates that living a sustainable life style is not black and white and when you start keeping score, where you stand is not always so clear.

For example, this past week I had some sustainable, and some not so, choices:
Biked to work two days: drove to work three days
Scheduled attic insulation: bought plane tickets to Florida
Purchased locally made bread: purchased bananas (instead of apples)

Each of us has our list from this past week. And each "not so" choice has it's rationale. Each of us has the opportunity to make changes as we move forward. How do we avoid decision paralysis, and stay on the glass-is-half-full side of the equation?

One simple take home from Switch (the book our office is reading) is big picture goals like "live a more sustainable life" allow wiggle room and rationalization of the failures. Instead, specific goals like, "I will only buy bread made in town", or "air seal & insulate your attic" allow for step by step concrete changes.  After a year of specific goals, you have made some significant change!

What is your one specific goal for this month? - Jessie


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