My Greatest Eco-Friendly Contribution isn't What You Think

My Greatest Eco-Friendly Contribution isn't What You Think

Even though I've been making and selling eco-friendly sponges and kitchen goods for the last 5 years and using them at home for over 15 years, I recently realized that my most sustainable action hasn't had anything to do with what I use to wipe my counters. It's had nothing to do with the brand of dish soap I use or how much I recycle or whether or not I forget to bring my own straws when I eat out. 

No, friends.  The thing that has had the most impact is also the thing that has brought me the most joy.  It quietly offers shelter and feeds hundreds, or even thousands every day from spring to winter.  It's actually my garden.  And here's the truth:  it is also the thing that has brought me the most joy. 

Yes, I love good design.  I love selling reusable cotton sponges to people who love color.  But even more than that I love sitting in my garden, watching my chicken and pets and bumblebees and squirrels and birds living in it.  Every bug, every microorganism, every tiny thing exists here because I made space for it. 

When we first moved into this house our garden was nothing but grass and a few industrial landscaping plants.  The quantity of pesticides in the shed explained why we heard no birds and saw no life at all there.  It took a lot of work to create a wilderness that now invites a variety of wildlife I didn't even know existed here.  But the thing that fueled the work was joy.  I knew that I wanted to be surrounded by wild beauty. 

It has been one of the great joys of my life to create this garden. Yesterday as I sat watching bumblebees and our resident hummingbird visit the flowers on plants that I’ve planted it occurred to me that my most eco-friendly action in my entire life has also been the one that brought me the most joy.  It wasn’t peer pressure that has fed the local bees for the last 9 years.  It wasn’t thrifting clothes or using a specific water bottle or bringing my own jars to the supermarket or replacing paper towels or any of the things that are pounded into our heads as being the right thing to do.  

Social media right now feels like an impossible place to exist.  There is literally no right way to show how much you care about the world we live in.  No matter what you say or show, it will never be enough. And I acknowledge that it has had an effect on how much I share, or don’t share here.   But looking around my garden this morning I am reminded that here in front of me is a physical manifestation of how much I care.  

And it is no less a contribution to our world that this garden also makes me HAPPY.  Somehow we have learned to equate being a good citizen of the planet with personal struggle and sacrifice.  It becomes a competition that no one can win.  The truth is that joy and love feed our actions every day.  When you harness those feelings, when you let them guide you, you can create beauty, change, and life for yourself and for those around you.  Next time you feel guilt for doing the “wrong” thing, maybe pause for a moment and think about the things you do right.  The things that feel good to do right.  And know that you can do those things again and again.

Lots of people ask my advice at shows about how to do *more*.  How to create more sustainable habits.  My response is and will always be the same:  Seek out the habits that feel good to do, and keep doing them.

P.S. If using eco-friendly sponges in fun colors is one of the habits that brings you joy, I've got you.  Check out reusable cotton sponges HERE

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