-Sherry Crawley, marketing and communications director for The Nature Conservancy in Georgia
By Sherry Crawley
It all began with a $12 bottle of shampoo.
It smelled good. Buying it gave me that smarmy, eco-superior feeling. Recycled bottle. Dye free. Bought at a hipster-chic market. Surrounded by organic bean sprouts and all kinds of stuff made out of hemp.
Imagine my disappointment when I took my inaugural shower with my new shampoo, only to discover its watery consistency and un-foamy-ness required a couple generous handfuls to wash my hair.
If I’m being honest, I knew I couldn’t financially sustain buying $12 bottles of shampoo anyway. Those of us trying to live more earth-friendly are bombarded with advice on what products to buy, but they can come with a hefty price tag.
So in the interest of not spending my kid’s college fund on good-smelling beauty products, I became conscious of the quantity of products I use, and I am encouraging others to do it too.
Start by taking an inventory of products you use: shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, cosmetics, hand soap, mouthwash… it’s more than you think.
After you are aware of what you use, the fun begins.
Don’t stop with personal care products – this way of thinking can be applied to cleaning products, baby care and many other consumables.
Are we going to save the planet by conditioning our hair less? Well, no. But an increased awareness of our habits can have greater effects. Maybe you can think more carefully about the quantity of stuff you buy in general, from clothes and toys to electronics. Perhaps your new, skimpier consumption perspective can motivate you to carpool, try out a car share or combine your errands.
I can’t always afford to make the very best choice for the environment when it comes to the things I need, but I can at least respect the natural resources that went into creating them and use them sparingly. And with the money you save, you can choose to support causes that do something for our communities and the planet.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not represent those of The Nature Conservancy.July 23, 2012