Eco-Ninjas Beware!

I recently read a post from my favorite, and possibly only one I follow, sustainability blogger: Sustainability In Style. She made a post regarding the repentance and averageness of the same old ways people are told to be more eco-friendly; such as using reusable bags, turning off the lights, and recycling. These things are easy to advertise, simple to do, and most even have financial incentives now in some states of the U.S. These are the things most people are bombarded with and this is what only comes to mind when some people think of modern environmentalists. So she wanted to outline some other uncommon ways people can be more sustainable in their daily lives.

I personally related to one of them immediately as I had an experience very similar to the one she was describing. It was about refusing extra packaging or unnecessary items that an ‘Eco-Ninja’ might not want. For instance, at GMU we have a big number of fast-food places that automatically think you want to take your food to-go even though there is seating available at the space. One time at Panda Express, I asked to have the order for dine-in, not to-go, yet they put my food in a Styrofoam container, in a plastic bag, with plastic utensils to boot. I was very frustrated as all this plastic was to waste and I didn’t even have a choice! Styrofoam is one of the worst kinds of plastics and it can no longer be recycled because of the food content. I didn’t need a bag since I was going to dine-in. And I intended to eat there, so I brought my own reusable silverware. All of this could have been avoided if I had a say in my own meal.

This made me think about the multiple systems that are put in place for us as humans, where things are automatically done for us. It is sad to think that this had become so automatic for them to use this unnecessary plastic for every customer, regardless of their potential to make more eco-conscious decisions. And this also upset me for the lack of choices our society and its set systems have for us. We have become easier to manage and control through these set systems to continue the ‘status quo’ that unfortunately means degrading our environment as well. For those who are already more eco-conscious, it is appreciative when we have more of a choice as to what we actually receive with our products bought. The provider may think of it as a nicer gesture to provide these things, but then when I refuse the extra, I don’t want to be looked at as odd for my decision as well. Do I actually need this receipt? No. Do I really even need a straw with this drink? Nope. More choices in how people can experience services may just make people think more about what they really need, rather than automatically getting the environmentally degrading option.

Sustainability In Style blog post:



One comment

  1. sustainabilityinstyle · February 29, 2016

    Oh my!

    Thank you so much for the shout out Emily and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post. Refusing excess packaging is such a mission that it could nearly be a full time job. I was defeated on the weekend by a wedding. The wedding was very well thought out in terms of eco-credentials and minimal waste (it was the wedding of an eco-magazine editor) but sadly there was an oversight with the catering and the food truck (it was a very casual festival style wedding) didn’t have the veggie mains they were supposed to.

    Fortunately there were only three veggies in attendance and one of them kindly offered to go get us all some Thai food. Sadly the thai food came with a forty minute wait, then no rice (so three drives to the thai food store), and wrapped in a plastic bag with plastic forks. The food was delicious and I was so grateful to the lady who offered to get it for us. However, as an eco-veggie who sometimes eats sustainable fish species I wondered if it would have been more eco friendly to eat a fish taco that was on offer. Would have saved on the plastic and the transport.

    I guess the moral of the story is that no matter what choices you make there will always be times when things don’t work out quite how you planned. As long as you are trying your hardest then you are being the best eco ninja you can be.

    Thank you for the lovely and thought provoking article

    lots of love.


    Liked by 1 person

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