Going green, Jan. 29

Published 8:56 am Monday, January 29, 2018

Every year, many Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but as the year goes by, it’s easy to just go back to your old ways and forget about your resolutions. Instead of making a resolution for 12 months, three years ago, I made a habit change to improve my impact on the environment.

If you’re a regular reader of my column, you can probably guess what I’m talking about: I gave up shampoo and conditioner in favor of baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

I’m happy to report that I am still maintaining my new habit and have no intention of going back. 

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Equal parts baking soda and water makes a great shampoo and equal parts apple cider vinegar and water is a fantastic conditioner. Both substances are natural and don’t harm the environment or pose a threat to animals once they go down your drain. I am also throwing away and recycling fewer plastic bottles because baking soda comes in a large cardboard box and the apple cider vinegar comes in a large plastic bottle that I can recycle. 

It’s been very interesting forming a habit and watching it develop into a permanent part of my life. It has taught me a lot about the best ways to make changes in your life. 

One of the most important first steps is to make sure that the change you want to make is sustainable. Don’t try to make too big of a change all at once, or you’ll run into problems that will be likely to make you give up. 

You have to remember that while you can imagine making a really big change, actually changing how your brain thinks has to be a slow, steady process.

You also need to remember not to be too hard on yourself. You’re going to mess up or forget. Sometimes you’ll even need to intentionally break from your plan to give your brain a break. You can’t go into a new habit expecting perfection. 

One more tip: Make sure you have a good motivating reason for your habit and remind yourself of what that reason is. It’s easy when you’re trying to form a new habit to get caught up in the habit-making and forget why you’re doing it. That’s dangerous because if you’re focused on the habit and not the reason, it’s a lot easier to think what you’re doing doesn’t matter and give up. 

I’d like to challenge you to try to form a new habit this year that will be good for the environment. You could walk more or recycle more. You could invest in something like metal straws or reusable cups that help you avoid using environmentally harmful products like plastic straws. Or you could quit the shampoo and switch to baking soda.

If you’ve formed an environmentally friendly habit or are trying to form one, I’d love to hear about it. You can email me at amandawheelerphoto@live.com.

Amanda’s Animal Fact of the Week 

Giraffes have the same number of neck vertebrae as humans — seven — despite the large height difference.

About Amanda Wheeler

Amanda Wheeler is the children and teen services librarian at the Lincoln County Public Library. She has a master's in zoology education from the University of Miami and has taught as an educator at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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