My bike, loaded with my farmers market haul: corn, nectarines, strawberries, onions, and a 15-pound Crenshaw melon.

As I mentioned in my last post, sustainability is an imperfect practice. We need more individuals and organizations doing things imperfectly than a handful doing it perfectly. Let’s talk about how imperfect sustainability can be part of your world.

How can you be an imperfect sustainability ally?

At home, we’re doing what we can, where we can.

  • Since 2011, we have only owned PHEV or EV vehicles, including the Chevy Volt, Chevy Bolt, and Kia Niro PHEV.
  • Pre-COVID, we reduced our fleet to a single car, since my husband took public transportation.
  • Public transit doesn’t feel like a COVID-safe commute option right now. He’s using the car while I run local errands on my e-bike. This is easy, since there’s really no place to go. It will work for a while, until the kid needs rides to school and activities.
  • We had rooftop solar installed in 2016; now that we have just one car to charge, we contribute more energy to the grid than we consume.
  • We switched to cloth napkins/rags/towels at the start of lockdown when paper towels were hard to find. This has significantly reduced our paper waste.
  • I have been using reusable grocery bags since the early 2000s. I have several small ones similar to these; it’s easy to carry many with me at all times in my purse or laptop bag.
  • We try to limit the use of single-use plastics, or find creative ways to reuse them.
  • Whenever possible, I try to buy my clothing secondhand. Many of the items have been barely worn or are completely new.
  • I prepare more meatless or low-meat meals.
  • We buy much of our food through local producers who sell at the farmers market.
  • I have online orders shipped in groups. This reduces packaging waste and allows more efficient processing in distribution centers and delivery trucks.

To be honest, most of this has been easy. It hasn’t required dramatic lifestyle change. The bigger changes — eliminating work-related air travel, becoming a zero-waste household — will be a lot harder. But we can all make progress towards a more sustainable world by simply being aware of how even small changes can add up.

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