I recently read an article titled "Am I an environmental-warrior, or a hypocrite?"which got me thinking about the new lifestyle that I have adopted. It's been a few months since I have become what I call a very conscious consumer. A few months ago, I started on the path of minimalism, decluttering and getting rid of tons of unnecessary stuff. At around the same time, I started my zero waste journey. Not everyday is perfect. There are some days that I use plastic or end up driving an extra few miles because of a wrong turn or forget to water my garden. Do I feel like a hypocrite when these mistakes happen? Sometimes, but not as often as I would have thought.
I know I am not perfect. I know I make my own choice, but sometimes my choices are limited and I have to select the lesser of two evils. Sometimes I get too excited and forget to plan ahead of time. The thing is I know I make mistakes, but I am still trying anyways. I'm not waiting to have a perfect lifestyle to tout "No Plastic." I'm doing my part to learn, to practice, to influence. So even though I am not a perfect environmental warrior, I'm trying and I am more conscious of my actions. I'm proud of what I have been able to accomplish so far, and of the small changes I've made. I still forget to ask for my drinks not to have straws, I sometimes get too tired to fight for cashiers about not putting my things in a bag, but this happens less and less. When I do fail, it also becomes a conversation starter about why I'm doing what I'm doing and that it's not easy and perfect all of the time. People then can't automatically say "Oh I can never do that." One they realize that it's not about perfection, but about trying, it makes it easy to attempt a few lifestyle changes.
This past week, we attended a decently sized family get together at my parents house. My parents put out a buffet style dinner. At the corner of the table were these really nice plates. I thought there were new so I complimented my mom on them. It turned out that the entire dinner set had been sitting in storage for years. My mom had decided to actually use them. She said she saw bulk paper plates at Costco, but thought of me and said to my dad that they didn't need them and instead opted to use reusable plates. What a moment! I'm so happy they did that as small things really do have an impact. I don't impose the lifestyle changes I have been doing on other people, except my husband (he has no choice, ha ha), but it's nice for others to understand where you are coming from and to try their hand at it.
A movement of people making these changes brings awareness to the cause and creates social pressure for businesses and political leaders to follow.
So am I a hypocrite for not being a perfect environmental warrior? Resoundingly NO, but there is no such thing as perfect and if you wait for perfect, it will never come.
I think I will do more good in the world as a hypocrite who is trying to change things than either a cynic who does nothing or an idealist who is afraid to do anything out of fear of being called a hypocrite.