Willpower is HARD. It’s been said that one wakes up each morning with a certain amount of discipline, but as the day wears on, that discipline starts to wear off. Sure, we can start our day off with a nourishing breakfast, but we can’t forget about lunch. With just a little planning, you can have a beautiful and nourishing meal ready and waiting, giving you the willpower to resist the cookies that your coworker INSISTS on bringing into the office, or keep you from heading into a fast food drive thru.
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A very wise friend once told me that “we cannot let perfection stand in the way of progress.” That statement has stayed with me for years, running through my mind at opportune moments, always with a little picture of her smiling face attached, as if it were a Facebook post. It is with me when I am sourcing new products for Green Apple Supply and trying to assess their level of sustainability. And it is with me when I am tempted to judge another's use of products I see as poisons. And it is definitely with me on the days when I feel overwhelmed by the task ahead and exhausted by the endless work of saving the planet from humanity, or maybe more accurately, saving humanity from itself. And her voice speaks the loudest when I find myself speaking to someone new to the green movement. Someone who would like to make safer choices for themselves and their families, but are overwhelmed by the idea of where to start or what to buy. This is arguably when my messaging is of the utmost importance. It is the first impression of what it means to be eco-friendly, a person’s lasting idea of just how hard this change is going to be.
It is so tempting to brazenly spout all of my eco knowledge; to become a geyser of the terminology, facts, experiences and wisdom that I have picked up along the way. But this is the time for discretion. This newcomer need not understand the challenges I face, now miles down the road; they need only understand the steps they must take tomorrow.
In fact, it’s not yet time for sharing at all. Knowing that someone wants to go green is not near enough information to elicit a compelling response. What are their specific reasons for going green? I can tailor my response to their desires. Although the “perfect” version of sustainability may be an interconnected web of all actions and all things, those desiring cleaner air to breathe may take an entirely different path than those considering the health of wildlife or those specifically upset by a particular illness.
One red, spiral, 80-sheet, college-rule notebook? A blue, 3-ring, 2-inch D-ring binder? Sure, back to school shopping is stressful enough without adding yet another thing to the list. But, with everything we are learning concerning the vulnerable state of our planet, purchasing eco-friendly school supplies should not just be another item. It should be at the top of the list. We send our children to school for a comprehensive education, preparing them for the challenges they will face as adults. One of the largest (if not the largest!) challenges facing our children today is maintaining the Earth for future generations. Both during school and outside of it, they are constantly faced with pressure to make “green” decisions. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” has become the “Duck and Cover” of this generation. Like the imminent threat of bombing, it is impossible that this sort of pressure isn’t affecting our children’s mental health and feelings of security. In the article, “No Kidding, One in Three Children Fear Earth Apocalypse,” the article reports that “one out of three children aged 6 to 11 fears that Ma Mother Earth won't exist when they grow up, while more than half—56 percent—worry that the planet will be a blasted heath (or at least a very unpleasant place to live).”
By supplying our children with eco-friendly school supplies, we reinforce the hard work we do at home and we teach them that helping the planet is universal. You keep it in mind at home, at school, at work…Everywhere. Children today are already faced with an overwhelming amount of mixed messages. They are encouraged to recycle, which is inexpensive and easy, but organic foods that require quite a monetary investment may not be accessible, despite their importance. Likewise, saving water and energy are encouraged, but hybrid or electric vehicles are not. Naturally, most consumers make decisions based on their pocketbooks. But it is important to recognize that many of these decisions fly in the face of what we are teaching our children.