Years ago, while cleaning out my parents house, I found an old pair of my pajamas in my dad’s bucket of rags. Now this wasn’t just any old pair of pj’s; they were my absolute favorite – ever. I remember getting them for Christmas when I was 9 years old and I couldn’t wait until summer when it would be warm enough to wear them. They lived with me in Winnipeg and Toronto and, one day, they disappeared into the basement.
Almost 40 years later, my dad still had those pajamas in his bucket. I thought about the other 3 houses that my jammies had lived in and I wondered how many times my dad had been on his knees, using them to scrub the floors. Yet my favorite jammies still looked clean; they still looked like they could be worn by any 9 year old ready for bed.
I share this story with my intermediate students when I tell them how important it is to be resourceful and how it doesn’t take much effort to look after the planet. My parents always looked after things and when they were done with them, they found another way to use them, they passed them along, or they donated them. To this day, I often hear my dad’s words: Don’t be wasteful.
Now, in the midst of a climate crisis, my own family develops habits to protect our Earth. We reduced, we recycle, and we repurpose. We work at being efficient with our water and energy usage. We keep adding to our repertoire of strategies for a cleaner world. We are by no means perfect, but we try.
In the past few years, one of the changes we made was with our shampoo. We moved from an off the shelf commercial product to one that was all natural. All of us liked it, which is unheard of, and it was easy to order. But always bothered me a bit. By having it shipped to my home, always in a new plastic bottle, we really weren’t doing much to help the environment. However, I kept purchasing it, justifying my choice because we liked it and it was good for our hair.
The opening of Ecofillosophy, a local small business which offers low-waste products and runs a refill program in Bronte Village (Oakville), became a catalyst in my next step. In December, we tried one of their shampoos, which was a win for 3 out of 4 of us. A few weeks later, I purchased a 1 litre refill bottle in a different brand and filled our old plastic bottles: another win as it is good for the environment and less expensive. I also bought a shampoo bar for my husband, which is suppose to last longer than liquid shampoo if it is used properly; the jury is still diliberating, which really means that Dave is afraid to try it, but he’ll get there.
Ecofillosophy advocates that “the power to make a difference lies in each one of us.” We can’t do it all but we can do a little at a time. As my family works towards new choices for sustainable living, we do more and more to help our planet, one decision at a time.