Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Plan

Its the first week in January and I made a New Years resolution. I've tried to do New Years resolutions in the past and my stats are against me. This year is going to be different though. That may be because I am committing by putting this out there via the world wide web and I'm committing to anyone who may read this that I will be successful in my resolution.

My goal is to be more green. I have been on a kick about this for quite some time. In high school I was a vegetarian and I could feel the healthy affects of being so, but I was young and did not know enough about general health to do a good job. Needless to say, my commitment to being a vegetarian eventually fell through. But, here I am seven years after the fact and a successful vegan.

I started my veganism after reading about the health benefits as well as animal welfare concerns. I have never been really into animals, but here I am in my mid-twenties not getting any younger, wanting to commit to good health and slightly bothered by the idea that I was consuming animals that died in agony for me to consume unnecessarily.

I have now been a vegan for one year, and I can feel the effects of it. My skin is clear, my body is more regular in every sense of the word, and I'm actually happier. Happier? Who would have known that the food that I eat could actually affect my mood. I now believe that the animals that died in agony left a mark on me when I consumed them. I know that sounds maybe like karma or perhaps something really new-agey...but whatever, I've experienced a dramatic shift in my emotions and I'm a believer.

So, back to my resolution. I want to be more green. You may be asking what does all of this have to do with being more green? Last year I became a vegan, and this year I am going organic, but really this is all in attempt to be more ethical.

One of my major concerns is rainforest clearance. Rainforest clearance is driven mainly by demand for wood and the desire for land to grow crops such as soya that is mainly used as feed for the meat and milk industries, as well as palm oil which is found in a wide range of products. These Clearances have been responsible for an estimated 300,000 species that have been rendered extinct in the last 50 years. But people have also suffered, and usually the poor. There are now more environmental refugees than there are political refugees, forced to leave their homes as their food sources become less and their water becomes polluted.

Besides rainforest clearance, the production of feed crops and the farming of animals uses an astonishing amount of water. This is not as big of a problem in the U.S., but again the poor is the ones that are being affected. Many third world countries are running dry on fresh water as it is.

Then there is all the manure. Much manure is finding it's way into rivers and streams which leads to acid rain.

I also really believe that when God created the heavens and the earth, he didn't leave us with a particularly hard job. He wanted us to be stewards over the plants and animals and we're really messing things up.

So, here is my plan for 2011. I will be trying to make (and if I can't, then I'll buy) all organic household cleaning products as well as health and beauty products. So far, I am off to a slow start with this. I tried making shampoo and I did not like the finished product. So, I'll be trying a new recipe and then I'm moving onto laundry detergent.

The environmental risks associated with chemicals found in cleaning products as well as health and beauty are slight. But, last April, we lost a dear family member to cancer. Matt flew back to the states and I was left in China for a month to do some soul searching. I really began to think about the way that we treat our life. So often, we take for granted our health and never think for a second that the small decisions we make, such as the shampoo we use, could be affecting us. Here I am, 24, and I have always bought whatever shampoo was on sale. Never, taking into account the ingredients, which could possibly be carcinogenic. I don't drink my shampoo, but I'd be a fool to think that none of the ingredients could possibly have entered my temple through my pores, and I have a responsibility to take care of myself for my friends and family.

Mostly though, I feel driven by a responsibility to take care of our earth. Really, it's such a beautiful gift, and the other people on it deserve to enjoy it too. I am bothered by the social injustices that I have contributed to in the past. I will not consume of our planet in a such a haphazard way anymore. I will take into account the affect I am having on God's creation. This is my plan.


  1. Hey Kate...enjoyed reading this. We have made efforts the past couple years to eat healthier, eat and produce more organic food, and have made some easy changes in cleaning supplies. Cleaning with vinegar and water solutions and baking soda is the most simple/affordable way to go. Good luck. I often become overwhelmed in my efforts, but changing one thing at a time is the way to go.

  2. Hi Miriam! It's good to know that others try to do this too. I went to the grocery store today to find baking soda and had a hard time. I guess this is going to be one of those difficult products to find in China. I'm working on it though.

    P.S. Thanks for being my first follower!