Last Wednesday, as we were driving on our weekly night out, my husband said something absolutely shocking to me. I’m serious. I was floored. I almost didn’t know how to respond, I didn’t want to jinx what he was saying or wake up, but as he spoke, I became increasingly proud of him.
I’ve been promoting a more healthy lifestyle for a while. Eat local foods, buy our meat from farmers who treat the animals well, grow a more and more substantial garden, recycle, compost, and try to reduce our overall consumption of *things.* My husband comes from a much different background than my forest-loving, eco-focused self; more of the keeping up with the Jones’ and rooms you can’t spend much time in kind of family. I’ve always talked about wanting to move out onto a big piece of property in the country with lots of trees, where I can become more self-sufficient. I’d love an earth-sheltered house, possibly even a dome, where I can have a large, green indoor space year-round. I’m excited about the concept of rammed-earth construction. I wouldn’t mind keeping some animals for food, and growing using permaculture techniques. I want to spend time in the woods on a regular basis, and I want to be surrounded by hills.
Despite grandiose dreams to the contrary, here we are, on a flat, prairie-like section of the country, in a town/city with one of the lowest tree covers percentages in all of Canada. My lot is long for the city, but only about 50 feet wide, and a huge portion of that is road right-of-way. Before my allergies, I pushed for more recycling, more thought for our purchases, and spending a little more to get something that is sustainable and will last longer. With all of my allergies, I have slowly been making even bigger changes, to our lifestyles, our cleaning products, the way we clean, how we use the toilet, and even to our water supply. For the most part, my husband’s response has been, “Fine if you’re doing it. You do the research, you make it happen. If you want me to do it, we’ll have to see. It can’t be too different or more work. We’ll have to ease into it.” He cursed me for giving away our cling film, complained about my dishwasher detergent experiments, and called the dish soap not bubbly enough. When he wholeheartedly approved of anything I created right off the bat (like this pet enzyme cleaner), I was pretty much ecstatic.
That day, that wonderful, wonderful man looked at me, across the center console of the car, and said, “I’ve been thinking…we need to use less plastic. We should try to buy more glass and metal packaging instead, even if it costs a bit more.” The only thing I could think was, “Where did this come from?” which escaped my lips rather hesitantly. The story emerged that he’s been doing his own research. He had found the recyclability levels of different plastics, and their toxicity levels. He had explored the breakdown and lingering effects of broken-down plastic in our environment. He had seen the effects of discarded plastic on wildlife, including horrifying turtle tourniquets. In addition to his plastic research, he had also been seriously reviewing the research into global warming, and considering the global effects of re-naturalizing land by building underneath the surface. He paused, “I guess I’m kind of making a case for your earth-sheltered house idea, aren’t I?” As the story unfolded, it hit me – we can do this. Maybe we can’t change the world on our own, but if we do our part and help others learn why they should make changes, too, we can make an impact, even if it’s only a small one. Every little bit matters.
I should have seen it coming when I was offered better gardening gear to allow me greater propagation success (including building new planting boxes), and more seeds, rather than having to convince him of the bare minimum I would need to get by. What I know more than ever now is that we’re a team, and whether we make an impact on others’ lives or not, we will make an impact of our own. Below, I’m going to have him post a few links to things that changed his outlook on the world, because in this household, however much I might try to change in our lifestyle, he deserves a huge amount of credit.