I've been a bit "crunchy" since the 80s when I started really learning about my own personal impact on the environment. I wouldn't say I was the best at it, but it was way back then that I resolved to use cloth diapers for my own children, when/if I ever had the opportunity. I've been following the 3-Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) for about 20 years and have only gotten better at that (though I still fall prey to consumerism). When out and about, I pick up litter when I can and do my best to keep our planet clean. I've always insisted on fuel-efficiency when buying a car (I've been given a lot of guff from friends over the years because I didn't/don't drive SUVs or speedy sports cars). This is a lifestyle that works for me. I've never really pushed it on other people, just tried to do the best I could and hoped that even a little would rub off on others.
Well, a lot of it rubbed off on Dave and now in many ways he's more crunchy than I am. I love him for it. He's taken my desires and concepts and has learned, then taught me, many other ways in which we can decrease our "carbon footprint." We are both often thinking about this when we make new purchases or clean house (meaning getting rid of stuff the best way we can without filling the landfills).
This kind of thing has never seemed like much of a challenge. It's always been a "no-brainer" to me. I'm fortunate that I live in an area with an excellent recycling program. Also, Northern California is renowned for this kind of thing - there are so many people here far crunchier than I am.
Now that we have two little ones entering our lives, this lifestyle has started to become more of a challenge. I still don't see it as much of an inconvenience, but the challenge seems to be justifying these things to people around us. There are so many ways we will be parenting differently than most people we know. It's not that I judge anyone for doing things different from how we wish to do them, this is a very personal choice we've made and it has nothing to do with our friends and others around us. What do I mean by different? Well let me count the ways:
1. We wish to use as little plastic as possible.
2. We don't want our children watching television until they are a few years old.
3. We do not plan to buy an SUV (and given the gas prices, who can blame us?).
4. We wish to continue to use organic bath and body products, especially on our babies.
5. We plan to use cloth diapers mainly, and the more eco-friendly ones for travel.
6. We hope to fulfill the babies' food needs with breast milk, but where we may need bottles, we'll use BPA-free ones (mainly glass).
7. If we use formula, we want to use soy-free products, and organic if possible.
I've noticed that others around us seem to be amazed by these choices. I'm often being asked why we made these choices. I know these things seem like inconveniences to many people, but it's always been the way we've wanted to do things if we ever had children. It doesn't seem like an inconvenience to us, it just seems natural. So my friends don't make the same choices. That doesn't bother me. I never really think about my friends in making these decisions for my own family - they are my choices and I don't judge others for not making the same choices, in fact, I don't think much about it. I sometimes, however, worry about hurting their feelings when they ask me why we've made these choices, because they are not the same choices they have made. These are just the decisions Dave and I made for us, and it's what works for us. We understand that everyone is different and our ways of life don't necessarily agree with other people's ways of life.
Fortunately, I know we're not alone in this. It will be on the upcoming California ballot to ban these chemicals in baby products, which will make this lifestyle even easier for us.