All-American Boy Meets Green Girl…by Austin
Alright, it’s my turn to talk now.
For weeks, Janie has been blogging while I’ve been hiding in the shadows like some Frankenstein science experiment. Every Sunday, you see the result of our weekly experiences, but you never get the chance to hear my side of the story. So here’s greenmyguy…from the guy himself:
One day Janie approached me and asked if she could transform me from an environmentally “un”-friendly individual into someone who understood why it’s important to be conscious about our environment. I was inquisitive and wondered what on earth this 15 week blog would entail, not knowing if I would even be able to go along with the changes she asked of me. After all, I thought the way I was living was already harmonious with the environment and there was no reason for me to change my habits. It turns out that I was dead wrong.
In general, I disregarded recycling, neglected buying sustainable foods, and simply wasn’t aware of the fact that my daily activities could potentially be detrimental to our environment and my own future. Through various means Janie slowly altered my diet, wasteful habits, and sometimes even my wardrobe. When I felt she was being overbearing and her recommended changes really wouldn’t affect me, she proved to me that the grass really is greener on the other side by showing me proven facts, videos, and research papers generated by critics such as Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser.
Janie: What was your favorite experience?
Austin: The “food challenge” post, where we compared industrial food with local food. I enjoyed getting up early and going to the farmers market, talking to the farmers and trying the different foods. It gave me a chance to try something different and see how other people eat and buy their food. I was able to witness firsthand the connection these farmers make with their customers and the community.
Janie: What affected you the least?
Austin: Trying to eat the tofu burger and Meatless Mondays. Though I liked trying vegetarian food, I personally would never stop eating meat. I enjoy the taste, texture, and nutritional value of meat. I’d rather not think about the negative consequences of eating meat because I don’t think I’d ever be able to give it up.
I have, however, minimized my intake of meat. I’ve stopped making meat the focal point of my meal, but rather tried to eat less of it. I’ve become more conscious of eating smaller, healthier portions and mixing in more vegetables. But I would never give up meat for tofu.
Janie: What was the most effective change?
Austin: I think that I’ll continue recycling my whole life. It’s like “once you pop, you can’t
stop.” Once I started recycling, every time thereafter that I threw
something into the trash can, I thought to myself, “Why should I throw this away when I could recycle this?” The only work that went into it was taking everything to the recycling center. I was astonished to see my roommates start recycling too, especially since they’ve never recycled in their lives.
Janie: What advice would you give to those wanting to “green” their friends?
Austin: Start small. You can’t assume that a person is willing to change their life completely because of what some food critic or scientist says. Also, constantly encouraging and reinforcing sustainable ideas in their daily lives and thoughts really helps.
Janie: Do you think you’ve been “greened”?
Austin: Yes, I have been “greened” in a way. My actions may not be as green as others, but I do think that my thoughts have become much “greener.” I’m more aware about environmental issues and I’ve opened myself up to living sustainably. As a college student, with a limited budget, I don’t really have the chance to make any significant changes. However, there are small changes I can and have made. What I’ve learned from this project is that being green can be easy; the hard part is encouraging others to follow suit.
I’ve been “greened”…is there someone you know that could be “greened” as well?