she started with flower boxes of herbs at her windows in her apartment, strangely enough
then moved on to increasing gradually the organic food content (we're trying too! just started this year, yeah me!, not a lot, but a start) and natural products
recycled more and learned the skills she need to do what she needed ex: buying strawberries at the store and making jam out of them, then she started pick your own strawberries and making jam out of them to save $ to do some of the other more exspensive things
she did it in baby steps--now she's where she wants to be--eats out of the garden she grew herself, the whole shebang! I think maybe it took her 15? 20? years. definately more than 10. probably closer to 20. and she started where i did. suburbia girl--dad had a garden sometimes. recycled cans for $. pick up trash to clean park because it LOOKED bad not to recycle the cans and bottles. very different attitudes than someone who cares about the environment if you know what i mean.
i agree that the important thing is to take it at a reasonable pace. i just made a bunch more cloth napkins recently--my family uses them now more than 75% of the time. frustrating--but, think, what if we didn't use them ever? I've just reduced 75% of the napkins we throw away--we've only bought 1 package of napkins since 11/05 (dh did it). and i just bought enough mama cloth for those times when my period is weeks late (i can't seem to keep them washed & DRIED fast enough not to run out during. eventually i'll have enough reusable stuff to use all the time thanks to learning to sew better.)
my family and most of my friends don't get the need to reduce what we use so i'm kind of going it alone--my dh is freaked out by the one time he saw my mama cloth the laundry to be folded and annoyed that i washed and kept plactic tv dinner trays and he constantly throws away perfectly good stuff "cleaning"--he does want to go off the grid and we would love an underground home. i have someone i thought was my friend who kept bringing styrofoam to my house for get-togethers not just in spite of my upset, but because of it--she told me i needed to get over it and she was helping me. and. . . the comments. ugh. except my one neighbor who is also taking it one step at a time too (farther along than me and uber supportive, go Kell!)
my dd & ds are trying with the whole organic thing--sometimes we buy organic treats for school & scouts--talk about exspensive and you should hear the explanations my kids use to explain why we would even want them to their little mainstream friends--"no chemicals, okay? chemicals are baaaad! you should try to use less chemicals so you don't die so soon." not how i would have put it, but it's a start. we go out to Whole Foods together and i let them pick a few things--my daughter used to eat Spaghettio's for school lunchs--now we've replaced them with the cans of Annie's pasta. and my son doesn't take rice krispie treats to school for snack anymore--he takes koala bars. and using reusable containers for school lunches--like sandwich boxes, instead of bags and small tupperware cups for fruit and taking metal silverware instead of plastic. i am thinking about knitting up some little silverware bags so dirty silverware doesn't pollute everything else in the bag (good for picnic and buffets the description says on the pattern) (http://www.frugalhaus.com/scripts/holder.asp
) because the dirty lunch carrier drives my kids crazy and they want plastic and this summer i am going to make their lunch boxes so i can wash them and reuse them without them getting gross or falling apart. and i am trying to sew more--if nothing else i am getting better at repairing problems like ripped seams and wrong size so clothes last longer and learning how to quilt to i can use stained or holey clothing up. little by little.
did you know that even the most heinous store in the world is starting to carry organic stuff? to my shame i was shopping in Wal-Mart and saw organic cane sugar the other day
and my local navy commissary is carrying more organic stuff too. yeah!
i get frustrated sometimes with the people who go nuts sometimes when you don't go organic and off the grid like yesterday. i want to say "don't scream at me, i am trying. what do you want me to do? stop trying? go away." instead of support and advice, you get blame. remember, at least you're trying. how many people don't? we've got 7 or 8 more years until retirement so we move a lot and a lot of the people i have more in common with don't like military people--so i get flack about dh being navy AND not being green enough, so seeing other people trying helps me when i get frustrated. thanks.
did i mention that i am jealous and in awe of my friend's mom?
the thought of her keeps me trying too. it's good to have heros.