I began my journey to be a better person a little less than a year ago, which I originally never planned on it being a lifestyle change. Nor could I really tell you when the switch in my head flipped to trigger my curiosity into all this madness.
Who I am?
For many that will stumble onto this entry won’t know who I am. My name is Julia Beard, a current Psychology and Community Family Addiction Sciences major at Texas Tech, as well as the BLNKA fellow for Art/ Art Installation and Grant Writing. I am a fellow red raider, BLNKA member, as well as a born and raised local.
You might be wondering why this is important or why am I of all people writing this? The only reason I am here is simply because of my passion. Passion for my personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of our future, home and only planet. I live a bit of an odd lifestyle, that’s been coined ‘zero waste’. Zero Waste, or low impact, is a philosophy where you limit the amount of impact you have on the planet. By reducing the amount trash, carbon footprint, and other resources you use. All it boils down to being mindful, say no, going without, finding good alternatives, minimizing and using what you already have.
Apart from not truly knowing why I began, I can tell you one thing that reaffirmed my decision to go zero waste, an article of the most updated endangered species list. The article discussed new animals added to the list as well as species taken off due to their extinction. This has stuck with me so much because some of my favorite animals since tot day, Giraffes and Flamingoes, were added. This ignited an anger in me that I have never experienced before. How could we let ourselves get this bad? How as human beings let our only planet be so badly impacted by us and still not care to change? It is such a simple, possibly stupid to some, to completely change lifestyles for the sake of one of my favorite animals. However, it’s been the best decision I’ve made in my young adult years so far.
How it all started –
After making the initial decision to go zero waste, or low impact as I prefer to say, I started down one of the most rewarding paths. It has been filled with some definite struggles, purely because I begin in a very naïve mindset. I wanted to be perfect at it and save the world all on my own. Side effects of being a perfectionist. However, researching and gaining knowledge about what exactly I was doing helped. I read many blogs and articles, even found tons to watch on YouTube. To begin this type of lifestyle change, you have to be prepared to struggle and fail before finding what works best for you. I began by saying no and using what I had, learned what I truly didn’t need or use enough to own, and simplified my life. Minimalism and low impact lifestyles go hand in hand, fun fact.
Do it in Lubbock!
As for how I actually do it, it’s simpler than I believe you’re thinking. Bring your own stuff to replace what you would use that’s normally plastic, say no to things in single use packaging (aka use it then throw it away), find multi-use items, getting creative and use the R-system (refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, rethink & rot). The most effect to live a low impact lifestyle is living by the R-system because it covers all the bases of anything you use in day to day life whiles simplifying it.
I refuse straws, single use plastic, useless packaging and more. By avoiding it all together, I don’t welcome anything against my lifestyle and values into my life. Reducing products, I used or items I thought I ‘needed’ helps to reduce my overall consummation of resources and goods, which reduces my overall carbon footprint.
Reusing is by far the easiest part of the journey to be a good human for the planet. Once I truly began, I realized how much I already owned that could be transformed into whatever I needed. As well as used and reused over again endlessly. You have so much in your household already, you don’t have to buy anything to start. For example, I had mason jars lying around not being used which have now become food storage, drinking glasses, takeout containers, beauty product DIY’s and more. Besides, it is going against your new lifestyle to go buy new goods when you already have them at home.
Repair anything you have currently to make it last longer than just tossing it and buying something new to replace it. I haven’t had to do this yet, but I know it’s coming with some clothing and shoes I currently own. Becoming more mindful is an essential part of living low impact. You have to analysis everything and rethink about what you truly need verses what you actually just want to own. I minimized several parts of my life by saying no to avoid what I couldn’t make more environmentally friendly with zero waste alternatives. Processed foods, mass produced beauty products and clothing are just some things that still haunt my journey. This has only resulted in buying second hand, making my own if I can, becoming a DIY Queen and master at thinking outside the box.
Finally, the oddest of them all. Rot. However, it’s just composting and disposing of the waste you do produce properly. I compost coffee grounds, food scraps and goods that I can compost such as paper. Composting helps my plant babies and worm friends very happy campers.
To reduce my impact on the planet as much as possible. I may be only one person, but one can start movements, induce change and ignite a revolution. We don’t need 1 person doing low impact perfectly, we need everyone doing it imperfectly. Which I can vouch for myself and say I am not perfect at this by any means. However, I alone in the last year have avoided sending 1,600 pounds of trash to a landfill. That’s a huge impact for one person to make. Now imagine, if 100 people did the same.
Stay tuned for Earth Day.