Anniversary post: Four years since I went “green” and changed my world (and maybe yours!)

Hi!

I’m Anna and I’m on a Not Made in China Challenge. Today happens to be my challenge anniversary! That’s right, four years ago today I pledged to stop over-consuming, stop supporting unethical fashion brands and to buy as much (%wise) made in USA items as possible.

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Hi there! This is me :)

This pledge started my journey towards green living. Before that, I thought recycling, bringing bags to the grocery store and supporting World Wildlife Foundation with a bit of cash each month was the definition of being “eco friendly”. Yes, we all start somewhere. (If you’re not even doing those things, take a minute and reflect.)

Every year since I started the challenge, I’ve taken different steps to lower my carbon footprint like starting a compost, switching cars, limiting my shopping, quitting beef, to name a few and this year is no different.

More specifically, in 2017 I have:

  • Gone plant based for real. Hardly any cheating, guys! My husband has joined in on it too – like 90% joined in. I am so proud and impressed by his actions.
  • Kept up with cloth diapering our bundle of cuteness and poop. (Update post coming soon!)
  • Joined the Sierra Club and Planet Parenthood as a monthly donor. So easy.
  • Shopped even less (for myself) than last year. How is that even possible?!
  • Seriously revamped my bathroom/beauty routine meaning fewer, only all natural products in mostly zero waste packaging. Daily make-up no more.

I’m proud of all my efforts but going plant based has been the best decision ever. It takes a lot of thought and motivation and I did cheat during the holidays because gingerbread and cheese. However, I recognize that going vegan is a work in progress just like the not made in China challenge was (and is), so I’m not too hard on myself. I’ll get there :)

So, have I failed my Not Made in China Challenge at all?

YES. Oh my god, yes.

Keeping a baby happy and healthy takes time and thought which leads to shortcuts. There’s been take out in styrofoam, some unnecessary driving around to keep baby asleep in the car, baby things I didn’t need (erhm, sorry not sorry) and also a few items MADE IN CHINA! [Insert panic emoji here.] Namely a high chair, a robot vacuum, backsplash tile, a rain cover for the car seat, a pack and go stroller and a new pod-free coffee maker (hallelujah Ninja!).

I know, I know. I’ve gotten more China items this year than I did for the past three combined!

I guess some years you “need” things and some years you don’t. Having a new baby I think automatically classifies 2017 as a year we did need stuff. (A coffee maker and a robot vacuum fall in that baby-category! They do! Both were Christmas gifts for ourselves.) I actually think we’ve done really well acquiring very, very few things of which most were made in USA, Fair Trade or second hand. Go us.

Best Nine 2017 Sustainableanna
Best nine on Instagram 2017. I absolutely love all these pictures!

2017. It’s been an interesting year. (Don’t get me started on Trump.) It’s been a busy year too for me; not just at home with baby but at work as well. I haven’t blogged as much as I wanted to (wrote 45 posts compared to 60 in 2016) but that’s ok. This green mama/manager/newly crowned vegan cook can’t do it all. (Hint, neither can you.)

I’m thankful for everyone reading, commenting, engaging, and sharing! Also, I am so happy and grateful that I get to inspire you and be a small part of your journey towards a greener life with less consumption, better choices, less meat and most importantly: increased awareness.

Stick around for 2018 why don’t you!? I promise to do my best to make you think, smile and learn.

Happy new year guys.

Here’s to another year on the challenge.

PS. Please, pretty please, share your small or big eco-successes you had in 2017 in the comments. That would make me and everyone reading super thrilled and pumped for the new year :)

9 thoughts on “Anniversary post: Four years since I went “green” and changed my world (and maybe yours!)

  1. Congratulations! 4 years, that’s amazing <3 I am a little over two years into my zero waste lifestyle and I am trying to eat more and more plant based meals – I did not expect that this would be so much harder than reducing my waste ^^
    My favourite eco-win from last year has to be Christmas: I received almost 100% sustainable, second-hand, eco-friendly gifts with minimal packaging – even from my boyfriend's realtives who are not that close! <3 <3 <3
    Looking forward to another year of your challenge :)
    Thanks for inspiring and sharing it with us! Sophie

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    1. OMG, sustainable gifts – so amazing! Congrats on that eco-win! Sounds like you are surrounded by good people. It makes me so happy when I get things that align with my lifestyle. My mom got our baby a wooden puzzle and the package made it look like it was made in Europe (they do that A LOT over there) and inside it said MIC, but I was totally cool with that anyway because it was to the best of her knowledge :) She is totally onboard and she loves how happy I get when I get things that I approve of!! makes her proud too I think, that she nailed it.

      I know, going plant based is hard. It’s scary how addicted we are to cheese and convenience. I am finding more and more great recipes as I go and I am starting to make food that actually tastes better than meat based meals without being complicated. Lentils are my BEST friends :) Maybe you saw on insta my grandma’s old Swedish veg cook book and it’s a life changer!! Since I didn’t grow up with burgers and mac n cheese I have no desire to make that food vegan now.. I just want my Euro foods and potatoes LOL. Ok this answer got long now.

      Thanks for sharing Sophie, have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is the first time I am reading your post and it I like it being very honest and sincere. Well, I committed myself to eco-friendly life year. I bought 2 pairs of jeans second-hand and thus saved thousands of gallons of water from production. The great part is that I love both jeans, they are of a very good quality, fashionable and in a great condition. Also, I started my own blog to share my concerns about consumerism and impact of our behavior on environment and people. I can’t give up meat yet or may be never :)) , but I am willing to give up many other things that destroy us and our environment. Let’s see where it takes ;)

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    1. Welcome to the community :) Taking a first step, like fashion, will lead you to all kinds of different eco-adventures. Those jeans sound like a great deal!!
      I don’t think of it so much as giving something up but instead changing it to something that fits me better. I didn’t give up meat – I adopted veganism :) If you had asked me 3 years ago if I’d go vegan, I too would have said maybe never ;)

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  3. I always love reading your posts! Side note on donating to the Sierra Club. We did that last year after the election and we’re BOMBARDED with mail from them and dozens of other environmental orgs. Have you had the same experience??

    And my big eco-success=keeping 278 pounds of food scraps (from 2 people) from the landfill through composting!!

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    1. Yes, but I have been bombarded for years because I made the ‘mistake’ to donate to St Jude’s when I first moved here! They all have my digits and I don’t know how to make it stop. I call and return the mail sometimes, no luck. I just take it, it’s worse around the holidays. The rest of the year is much calmer :)

      WOW! 278 lbs is a lot! I have no idea how much I diverted from landfill so far :) I do know my bins smell wonderfully earthy so can’t beat that :)

      Like

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