Our idea to do ‘Better’ started years ago, back in the days when the kids were in diapers, and it seemed everything around them was a recycling nightmare. So much so that as a young and frazzled mother the many notions I had at making a change seemed too big and overwhelming. It all kept coming back to ‘where does a person even start”?
Fast forward a decade and a half and our same family escaped the hustle of the city to plant roots in a slower passed lifestyle. We bought the farm so to speak.
It wasn’t long after we settled into the country that we started to connect more with the earth beneath our feet and crisp air that somehow seemed less heavy (albeit only being a short drive to the city).
We began throwing ourselves into all the things that called us here. We filled our pastures with animals (that are friends and not food) and started to take notice in the ways our neighbors were doing things, the way that ‘farms’ were doing things.
I loved how when our neighbor would deliver baking it came in an old tin or wrapped in a cotton towel (where was the Tupperware?). When we get called to pick up eggs from the next section over, there were old crates filled with fresh veggies waiting for us (where were the plastic bags?). When we ordered feed for our animals, they came in large canvas totes that are recyclable and refunded when you return them (where were the plastic coated dog food bags?).
When the leaves fell the first autumn, I nearly had a panic attack thinking about how much raking and how many bags they were going to fill…. Only we learned that leaves have been falling for centuries, its natures way of shedding the old to make way for the new and our ancestors certainly didn’t fill pickups full of bagged leaves and take them to the dump. What I am saying is we started to learn that all the things that we had become accustomed to were actually making things more complicated. They cost more, and they often mean an unnecessary step that we have come to accept as normal.
So once again, the wheels began spinning, the problem was evident (just as it was when I sat staring at the plastic diaper gene of plastic wrapped diaper sausages as I was heating up my baby’s plastic bottle) but the solution didn’t seem any simpler.
And then I realized what was daunting me was that there seemed like there were so many things that needed to change, and what if, let's just say we as a family turned into environmental crusaders and changed all the ways we do things – would it even make a difference? My answer was no, and that was defeating.
After sitting with this for a while (and I’ll be honest forgetting about it from time to time because life with 3 kids, a farm and a business is busy!) I started to take notice again of how these ‘farmers’ were doing things. The more I watched, the more I realized I was witnessing a collective, a community of everyday people doing their small part to get the job done.
On the farm there is never an end to the list of things that need to be done and tended to, so we learn to prioritize. Start with the things that seem manageable and are the most important today. After a while, the lists get shorter, and the jobs become more manageable.
This revelation changed the way I see the many issues the environment is facing due to how we have evolved as a species. We aren’t bad people, we don’t not care. We are just busy, and when another giant problem is pushed in front of us, it’s easier to just shove it back in its place (which is out of my lane).
So we decided as a family, we can’t change the world. We certainly are far from perfect! We drive big diesel farm trucks, and I can’t live without meat (that comes from someone else’s farm), but we can make one change at a time, and just like the network of old-school farmers around us we invite you to join in to help.
Because it sure makes a more significant impact when a community of people makes one small change than for just one person to do all the things alone.