As many of you (or maybe none of you) know, I work for an environmental justice organization based in Oakland, California. This year I made a commitment to continue pushing myself to re-shape my habits, and create practices that were in line with my commitments and values to a healthy, sustainable world.
I grew up in Richmond, California, home to Chevron’s massive oil refinery (among others). Every single day of my high school life, I would sit on the bus and drive past storage tanks of oil nestled into the hills. It was common for there to be highly toxic leaks, and I remember when my grandfather passed away we couldn’t leave the house because the entire city was enveloped in a black plume during the last refinery fire.
That is why I’m trying to make changes to my lifestyle and be a more conscious and informed human. One change that I’ve made is trying to shop locally! This means supporting smaller scale farmers who aren’t thousands of miles away. The farther the food has to travel to us, the more we depend on oil, the more we support industries that harm families, and the more we pollute the air for our groceries.
Another change is leaving re-useable grocery bags in my car so that I rarely ever forget to bring them, and even hiding a spare in the glove compartment for when you do forget. I also stopped taking those plastic bags at the farmers market, and the grocery store. I tried to buy brussel sprouts and I literally gave the bag back to the person at the booth and asked if she would re-use it and dumped my brussel sprouts into a small canvas bag. You can also bring jars to store things like granola– it’s kind of nice because then you get home and you put it on the shelf and boom, done!
I’m still learning (and hell I have A LOT to learn) about the zero waste movement, but yay for small steps for changed habits. If you have tips, please please share. I’d love to hear them!
P.S. If you haven’t heard of environmental justice, here is a quote from Robert Bullard,
“The environmental justice movement has basically redefined what environmentalism is all about. It basically says that the environment is everything: where we live, work, play, go to school, as well as the physical and natural world. And so we can’t separate the physical environment from the cultural environment. We have to talk about making sure that justice is integrated throughout all of the stuff that we do.
What the environmental justice movement is about is trying to address all of the inequities that result from human settlement, industrial facility siting and industrial development. What we’ve tried to do over the last twenty years is educate and assist groups in organizing and mobilizing, empowering themselves to take charge of their lives, their community and their surroundings. It’s more of a concept of trying to address power imbalances, lack of political enfranchisement, and to redirect resources so that we can create some healthy, liveable and sustainable types of models.”