Your everyday life is filled with 1 342 decisions from the time you get up in the morning until you go to sleep at night. Just let that number sink in. One thousand three hundred forty-two decisions every day! I bet you’re starting to think about all decisions in your life to see if this number is true. Well I can tell you that it isn’t true, I just made it up. Needless to say, our lives are filled with decisions. While some may be critical, even life-threatening, most are subconscious and mundane, and we, for the most part, can make these without causing any stress on our lives.
Your decision and the associated action defines your personality and lifestyle. Most of us know who we are, and we can make these decisions quickly and without much thought. But what if we stepped back for a second and looked at those everyday mundane decisions that fill our lives. I’m talking about:
- What to eat for breakfast
- How to get to work
- Where to buy the groceries
- What to do with my 10 minutes of spare time
For instance a common decision is breakfast. We don’t spend too much time thinking about (at least I don’t) but generally I believe this is how it goes. I think, what will satisfy me right now and do I have it at home or do I pick it up on the way to work. It takes a few seconds to resolve the problem and then I execute my choice and go on with my day. I never really think about how my choice can have consequences to my health or the health of the environment. Ah, you were probably waiting for me to get around to the “environmental” theme. It’s true though, our simple everyday decisions can impact our life and the environment.
I’m going to stick to the breakfast theme because honestly who doesn’t love food. But I want you to think back to your breakfast as I think back to mine. This day I decided to forego my usual bowl of cereal and opted for egg in a hole (mine is with cheese). Now breakfast is simple enough but what I want you to think about is all of the simple environmental impacts your choice may have. In my case I required bread, egg, margarine and cheese for the food, a frying pan, stove, and flipper to cook it, and a plate and fork to eat it. So let’s take a look and see how each ingredient might impact the environment.
Bread: Is it homemade? Store bought? Locally produced? Organic? White? Multigrain? Did it come in a plastic bag? Paper bag? Each of these questions can have a different impact on the environment from waste, greenhouse gas production or chemical use. In my case I purchase my bread from Nucci’s (locally made), it’s multigrain and comes in a plastic bag. Are there better choices for the environment I can make? Yes. Are there worse choices for the environment I can make? Yes. In my opinion the worst choice would be bleached white bread made at a factory, sold in a plastic bag that has another plastic bag lining the bread on the inside. I used to get this bread but changed it up and made a decision to buy something that had a lower impact on the environment. I could make the same list for my cheese (not local), eggs (not local but organic-free range) and margarine (not local, plastic container). I can definitely make better environmental choices with the food and will honestly strive to now that I’ve written this article.
Cooking: Cook on a hot plate? Stove top? Gas? Electric? Propane? Wood? Was the frying pan cast iron? Non-stick? Stainless steel? Was the flipper plastic? Metal? Wood? Again in my case I used an electric stove top, cast iron frying pan and metal flipper. My choices could be worse but they could also be better. I believe the wood flipper is more sustainable and easier to craft than metal. The hot plate would likely use less energy and the cast iron or stainless steel frying pan is likely the top choice. What cooking items do you use? Can you improve on your choices?
Dishes: Did you eat from the pan? Use a plate? Paper? Plastic? Reusable (ceramic, porcelain, glass, wood etc.)? Was the knife and fork plastic? Reusable? In my case I didn’t eat from the pan but used a ceramic plate and metal fork. My choices here are better than using disposable but perhaps my choice in materials could be better.
I realize that my breakfast could definitely be improved but how about yours? Your choice of what you eat, how you prepare it, where you get it, all has an impact on the environment and your own health.
Now if you think back on all the choices and decisions you’ve made throughout your day I’m sure you can spot ways you can improve. Making any change to your “business as usual” comfort zone is tough but making one change at a time is important. Once you get used to something new, move onto the next decision. See how much you can reduce your environmental impacts, make a change, try it now! It’s easier than you think.
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