How Hippie Are You – In our series from Susan Strayer

By Paul Pinkerton
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How Hippie Are You – In our series from Susan Strayer

Paul Pinkerton
 
 
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A new article in the series from Susan Strayer who’s an inspiration to many with her Blog – Mountain Mom and Tots.

How Hippie Are You?
I’m writing this while eating granola that I purchased in the bulk food section of Sprouts Market using refillable jars that I brought from home.

Yeah. I’ve gone a little hippie.
I’m not the only one. Green living, sustainable agriculture, and climate change are big topics in the world. As an outdoors lover, it makes sense to care about the environment and want to preserve the beauties of the earth. But living in an eco-friendly way requires sacrificing personal convenience.

 

How much do you give up for the sake of the environment?

In October, I read the book Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. Her family of four produces just one quart of garbage a year. That’s less than the average American produces in two days.

Zero Waste Home and its accompanying blog advocates living more simply by consuming less and using package free alternatives. Since reading the book, I analyze everything I throw in my trash bin – wrappers, bits of tape, food scraps – and think how I could compost, recycle or avoid tossing it altogether. It has changed my daily life.

I now use cloth diapers (much to Mountain Dad’s dismay), bring my own containers to the grocery store and carry a handkerchief instead of tissues. I choose to garden, make my own reusable bulk bags and scrutinize every item that enters my home with a view on how to dispose of it when the time comes.

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Living in the mountains requires us to haul our own trash and recycling away, so we naturally have an incentive to produce less of it. It also makes it easy to compost since our yard has no grass, just trees and native landscaping (mostly weeds).

 

But even so, I view my life from the outside and wonder, What happened to me? I used to think the only people who refused straws and used their personal water bottle at restaurants were the fringe of society. The crazies who hugged trees and wore free range wool or fair trade cotton. Now I am that person!

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Maybe I should expect this kind of change living in an outdoors loving community. Tree hugging. Granola. Anti-plastic.

I realize that I live on the banks of mainstream society. But I don’t think I’m weird or abnormal. I think the rest of society is.

When I see people leave the grocery store with a cart full of plastic bagged food I judge them a little. It’s not hard to buy a few reusable shopping bags and keep them in your car. You go grocery shopping every week and will for the rest of your life. Why not invest $10 and a half hour of time to making the world a little greener?

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Or my sister who continues to receive her bills by mail even though she lives in 2016 like the rest of us. I know automatic bill pay and ebills take time to set up, but one hour of your life is a small price to pay for greater convenience and fewer dead trees.

Everyone has their comfort level in this area. For me, it’s where cost, convenience, and logic intersect. I compost and recycle because it’s cheaper and easier than hauling trash down the mountain. I cook homemade meals because it’s better for my family and I can use package free ingredients. Plus it tastes better.

There’s a little hippie in everyone. How Hippie are You?

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Susan Strayer, author of MountainMomandTots.com is all about getting families into nature. She lives with her husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah and spends her time hiking, biking, skiing and camping as much as possible.

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