Slow living, Uncategorized

Slow living:Live by your values

As discussed in my previous post about exploring slow living, today I want to explore the first principle, namely that of living by my values. It’s surprisingly difficult to hone in on the essential values that I hold dearest. It’s easy to produce a laundry list of values, but much harder to boil them down to what I consider absolutely fundamental, which are those that motivate my actions and guide me through life. People’s personal values vary; none are more important than others, as these are all subjective choices. Personal values can change over time, so I want to focus on a handful that have been with me for most of my life. Part of slow living is learning to focus on what you consider to be truly important; having a comprehensive list of personal values can actually defeat the purpose, as the point is to be focused and intentional. This process is not easy and, for someone who is as prone to analysis as I am, it can become somewhat akin to falling down the proverbial rabbit hole, so I relied more on my intuition and focused on the first values that popped into my head, in a similar process to word association. I won’t go into the process in any detail, but the values below are what emerged as my top contenders, which I list in alphabetical order:

  • Beauty
  • Kindness
  • Knowledge
  • Religion (or Faith)
  • Responsibility

Beauty: I’ve always been drawn to beauty for as long as I can remember. While beauty can manifest itself in several ways, I have always been drawn to visual and aural forms of beauty, such as art, sculptures, architecture, and music. I’m a reserved person and not prone to wearing my heart on my sleeve, but beautiful objects, music, and so forth, can move me to tears, even if they are not necessarily visible to others. I take such pleasure in finding beautiful objects: they don’t need to be famous works of art, sometimes a simple and elegant candlestick can make me smile. I’m usually at my happiest when I’m in a gallery surrounded by beautiful objects, or in a magnificent church (this is related to my Religion value). I will strive to take time every day to revel in beauty and to immerse myself in it, even if it’s just for a moment, as a bulwark against a sometimes ugly world.

Kindness: Kindness is the sincere and voluntary use of one’s time, talent, and resources to better the lives of others, one’s own life, and the world through genuine acts of love, compassion, generosity, and service. This is a value to which I strive but of which I often fall short. Learning to be kinder to others, as well as to myself, is something that I need to work hard on, particularly since my desire for competency, a deep-rooted aspect of my personality, can make me intolerant or impatient.

Knowledge: This is perhaps not a surprising value for someone who has pursued an academic career. There is an irony, however, to having a career where knowledge can be pursued more as a means to an end, rather than for its own sake. By this I mean that there is a complusion in my profession to translate that knowledge into a tangible outcome, such as a journal publication. I find that this pursuit can sometimes serve to commodify knowledge, if you will, and rather takes the fun out of it. I want to place a greater emphasis on knowledge for the sake of knowledge, without a specific end goal in mind, career advancement, or the like.

Religion: Religion has been a part of my life since I was a baby. I was educated in a religious school until university, and have been actively involved in various churches for most of my life. I consider myself to be a religious person, in that I adhere to the beliefs (most, but not all) of a particular religion. My faith has always presented me with an interesting conundrum, as it often battles against my very rational and logical brain. I do know that my religion provides me with a sense of purpose, guides my values, and provides a sense of perspective on what is truly important. It’s an area where I profit immensly when I give it the time and attention it deserves.

Responsibility: A former colleague once told me “you suffer from a surfeit of responsibility.” I’ve always placed a very high value on personal responsibility; it can drive me to be a better person, but it can also lead to harmful behaviours, such as taking on too much, driving myself too hard, and having unreasonable expectations of others. It’s likely a word that could be etched on my tombstone. My slow living approach to responsibility is to use it to help me focus on monitoring my own behaviours and well-being, while to be forgiving of both myself and others if we fall short of my (sometimes unreasonable) expectations.

Slow living, Sustainability

Re-examining sustainable living

For the most of my adult life, I have tried my best to live in a way that does the least damage to the earth and the environment. I have embraced several sustainable practices in my daily and work life; it’s never enough of course, but it’s a path to which I am committed, which includes always striving to do more.

It’s becoming increasingly evident to me, however, that I need to focus on another, and equally – if not more – important aspect of sustainability, namely that which affects my mental, emotional, and physical health. I’ve discussed previously my concern over society’s increasing obsession with busyness, and how it’s become equivalent to an Olympic sport, where people compete with each other over the extent of their busyness. I’ve been trying to pursue a slower way of living, but my efforts have been far from consistent, so I’m going to challenge myself here to treat myself as sustainably as I do the environment.

Slow living isn’t a new concept; it sprung from the Slow Food movement, which traces its origins to 1986, in response to the proposed opening of a McDonald’s in the Piazza di Spagna. Several Italians expressed anger at this proposal and, while McDonald’s did open the location, which is still there today, this reaction led to the establishment Slow Food International 1989. This movement espouses the following principles:

Slow Food envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet.Our approach is based on a concept of food that is defined by three interconnected principles: good, clean and fair.

  • GOOD: quality, flavorsome and healthy food
  • CLEAN: production that does not harm the environment
  • FAIR: accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers

I have adopted various slow food practices, such as shopping from local farmers, making my own food, eating at local restaurants that support local food producers, and avoiding fast food. My attitude towards food is one of joy, since I consider cooking to be a creative pursuit that nourishes my soul.

Related to the concept of slow food is that of slow living, which is defined as a mindset whereby you curate a more meaningful and conscious lifestyle that’s in line with what you value most in life. It means doing everything at the right speed. Instead of striving to do things faster, the slow movement focuses on doing things better. Often, that means slowing down, doing less, and prioritising spending the right amount of time on the things that matter most to you.

While I’ve tried to embrace the concept of slow living, I haven’t done so as consistently as I would like, so I’m challenging myself in the next months to do this more deliberately. I’ve fallen off the slow living wagon over the past few weeks, and I’m seeing all too clearly the negative effects this is having on my mental, physical, and emotional health. I’m good at burying and ignoring mental and emotional health, but my physical health sends me the loudest alarm bells, since it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the significant increase in the manifestations of chronic health conditions, especially my widespread arthritis (the result of years of martial arts). I’m thus making a commitment to living a life that sustains me, as well as the planet, and to explore in more depth the three primary principes of slow living:

  • Live by your values – simplifying
  • Everyday deceleration – looking inwards
  • Live consciously – looking outwards

I will explore each of these principles in the next few posts as well as tangible steps I can take towards living them daily. Some useful resources that I will consult include:

Slow Living LDN

Seeking Slow: Reclaim Moments of Calm in Your Day

In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed

The Slow Living Guide

zero waste

Embracing frozen vegetables

Vegetables form an essential component of my daily life. My typical meal consists of one part grain (usually rice or quinoa), three types of vegetables, and a vegan protein (e.g., tofu, legumes, etc.). Half my plate consists of vegetables. I used to insist on using only fresh vegetables, but I’ve recently been embracing frozen vegetables in an effort to combat food waste. I’ve recently been given a medical diagnosis that affects what vegetables I can eat, how frequently, and in how much quantity, which means that I can’t get through the same amount of fresh vegetables as I used to. I found that I was wasting a lot of fresh vegetables as a result; as an example, where before I would eat a much larger portion of fresh squash, I can eat only very small portions at a time now, which means that a fresh squash once cut open, can’t be consumed at the same speed as before and often goes bad.

I was rather a snob about frozen vegetables, as I assumed they would be tasteless, mushy, and not as nutritious. I’ve consulted a number of resources to help me have a better understanding of frozen vegetables, and have been very pleasantly surprised. Because vegetables Because vegetables are usually frozen immediately after harvesting, they generally retain many of their nutrients. Frozen vegetables can be cheaper than fresh vegetables and have a longer shelf life, which could save both money as well as food waste. Frozen vegetables allow me to eat off-season vegetables throughout the year; this is particularly important during the long Canadian winter months, when the variety of these vegetables can be low. Blanching and flash freezing can cause a reduction in water-soluble vitamins, such as C and the B group, but this will happen also with fresh vegetables if you boil or steam them. Raw vegetables are off my list at the moment, per medical advice, so this will be a factor for me whether the vegetables are fresh or frozen. Fresh vegetables lose nutrients while they are stored, so frozen vegetables may actually retain more of their nutrients.

I typically either steam frozen vegetables, or cook them in the air fryer; this latter technique helps reduce the further leaching of water-soluble nutrients. If the vegetables are headed for the soup pot, I simply toss them in frozen. I buy frozen vegetables that have no salt, sauces, spices, etc. My usual assortment includes broccoli florets (I can’t digest the stems well), brussels sprouts, green beans, and edamame beans (yes, I know, it’s not a vegetable). I buy a California mix that I use in soups. I do buy fresh carrots, as they can last a long time if I store them in water, as well as fresh zucchini, as the latter don’t freeze well with their higher water count. I will be experimenting with frozen squash soon.

The downside to frozen vegetables is the plastic packaging, of course. I counter this by using the empty bags to collect cat litter waste, so at least I’m re-using the bags and eliminating the use of another bag. I think this makes for a better balance, especially when I consider how little food I’m wasting using frozen vegetables. While I would always prefer fresh foods, my existing medical situation makes frozen vegetables a better and more sustainable option.

Uncategorized

SkinFix

I have recently modified my skincare routine. My skin is very dry and reactive, and it’s a challenge to find products that are both moisturizing enough and non irritating. Plus, of course, they need to be vegan and, if possible, in sustainable packaging. The ingredient list of so many of these products, however, often contains a laundry list of items that irritate my skin on contact, such as limonene, linalool, retinol, glycolic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids, ascorbic acid, essential oils, and so forth. And don’t get me started on fragrances.

After doing a fair amount of searching on dermatology sites, I found that many recommended products by SkinFix. To my pleasant surprise, I found that the company is PETA certified, which means all its products are vegan, uses recycled plastic and paper, has a refillable option (more about this later), and its products do not contain a very long list of irritating ingredients. The company works with an impressive list of dematologists. The icing on the cake: The company is Canadian and based in Fall River, Nova Scotia.

I’ve been using the Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream for a week now and am very pleased with the results. I need a rich, thick moisturizer, and this fits the bill; plus, there is no stinging, burning, or redness when I apply it. It has a very unique pump action that doesn’t actually use a pump, which means that (a) you are not exposing the product to the air, and (b) you’re avoiding the plastic spout and nozzle that most pumps have. You can buy a refill pod that fits under the pump mechanism, so this saves some plastic. They do use recycled plastic, so that’s a bonus.

They have products for different skin conditions, such as eczema and rosacea; I use the barrier restore line and it’s best suited to my needs. They send me a sample of the cleanser and it was very soothing; most cleansers, even those targeted for dry skin, leave my skin very tight. So far, I’m impressed.

zero waste

TANIT oral care

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I take dental care very seriously. This is an area where I struggle to find low waste solutions. I still use a commercial fluoride toothpaste that comes in a plastic tube, as I’m not willing to sacrifice my tooth enamel in the name of avoiding plastic. Recently, however, I have added some low waste products to supplement my fluoride toothpaste.

Although I use my fluoride toothpaste twice a day, I have been using TANIT tooth tabs in the afternoon after lunch, and in the evening after dinner. These tooth tabs contain nHAp, which is known to help remineralize tooth enamel. I’m not comfortable relying on only nHap, so I’m keeping my fluoride tubes, but in this way, I’m not replacing the tubes as often. I’ve tried different brands of tooth tabs before and was not impressed: Most contained a high amount of baking soda, which is very hard on my gums and can damage enamel. I’ve also found some of the other brands of tabs to be difficult to crush into a soft powder, which served to further aggravate my gums. The TANIT tabs break down very quickly to a soft powder and I’ve experienced absolutely no tooth or gum sensitivity after using them twice daily for nearly four months.

I received the new TANIT mouthwash tabs yesterday, which also contain nHap. I like to use mouthwash to provide an extra level of protection to tooth enamel, as well as to make sure that all toothpaste and food residue is completely gone. Commercial toothpastes all come in plastic bottles and usually contain a lot of artificial colours and flavours. I’ve never been able to use the alcohol-based mouthwashes, as I found them very unpleasant. I like to use mouthwash after I drink coffee to help cut down on staining the teeth; yes, I could use simple water, but it never feels quite the same. I was delighted to try the TANIT mouthwash tabs; you simply crush them between your teeth (like the toothpaste tabs, they break down very easily), take a sip or two of water, and swish for 30 seconds. The tabs have a pleasant minty taste and contain grapefruit seed extract and spearmint; in addition, they contain xylitol, which is an effective anti-bacterial agent.

Both sets of tabs come in glass jars with bamboo lids. Refill tabs come in a compostable package. The icing on the cake: TANIT is a vegan Canadian company based in Quebec.

Veganism

Delicata squash and parsnip soup

I’m not a particular fan of parsnip, but I received some this week in my local farmers’ market delivery box, so I thought I would make some soup with it and include some Delicata squash that was getting a tad old.

1 large parsnip, chopped

I large Delicata squash, peeled and chopped

I large onion, diced

Chives, chopped

Garlic cloves, to taste

1/2 cup cooked soldier beans

Vegetable stock, to cover

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Salt, to taste

I didn’t roast the squash, as I was short on time, but this would certainly be a good option. As usual, I don’t measure the wet ingredients; I simply pour enough stock to cover the vegetables. You can always add more water if the soup becomes too thick. I didn’t blend the soup, as I wanted to keep the chunky texture.

All the vegetables and the soldier beans were grown in Nova Scotia.

Minimalism, Sustainability

Questioning conspicuous consumption

I am reading Canadian author J. B. MacKinnon’s book The day the world stops shopping. In what he terms his “thought experiment,” MacKinnon speculates on the social, economic, and environmental impacts of drastically reduced consumption. I’m not going to review the book here, as this is not the point of this blog, although I highly recommend this book. Over the past several years, I have been actively trying to reduce my consumption habits and have made significant strides. There is much, much more that I can and should do, however, and this book is helping me question my assumptions and choices.

A phenomenon that strikes me in particular is that of “conspicuous consumption,” a term coined by American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen in his 1889 publication The theory of the leisure class, which I recall reading in one of my undergraduate classes many years ago. Conspicuous consumption is exemplified by purchasing products to serve as symbols of wealth, prestige, taste, and so forth. An excellent example of conspicuous consumption, so mercilessly lampooned in the film American psycho, was the heady decade of the 1980s, with its emphasis on brand names, designer clothes, expensive cars, and living completely beyond one’s means. The television show Miami Vice is a perfect example of the idolization of this lifestyle. Although conspicuous consumption waned, to some extent, in the 1990s, following the economic downturn of the late 1980s, and also following the Great Recession of 2007, it is increasingly promoted via social media sites, such as Instagram and TikTok, where so many people promote luxurious lifestyles, branded items, designer clothes, and so forth, and seemingly compete with one another for prestige and perceived wealth.

I’ve been a willing participant in conspicuous consumption for a long time. I well remember the Miami Vice era, and my focus on designer goods and ensuring that logos were well visible. As a young person then, I worked part-time in a very expensive part of Toronto in a store that sold prestigious goods and jewellery (e.g., a single Flora Danica dinner plate could set you back at least $1,000). It was impossible to keep up with this environment with my limited budget, of course, but this didn’t stop me from trying.

I was raised in an educational setting where wealth prevailed which, unfortunately, was the perfect setting to establish an early emphasis on conspicuous consumption. It was an environment where status and prestige were displayed like suits of armour through consumer goods such as clothes, jewellery, cars, etc. Shallow? Yes? Hard to resist when you’re surrounded with it? Absolutely. I’m also blessed (cursed?) with a love of beautiful things which, almost invariably, translates to expensive, and often conspicuously so. I like the finer things in life that are often associated with luxury brand names that one casually drops in conversations, or wears, sometimes literally, on one’s sleeve.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve put serious effort into questioning my conspicuous consumption behaviour. Besides drastically reducing my consumption habits full stop, I’ve asked myself serious questions about why I buy the things that I do. Do I buy something of good quality because I want to invest my money wisely in a product that is well made and will last which, in turn, helps reduce what I send to the landfill? Or am I more concerned with signalling taste and prestige through the products I buy? At this point in my life, I think (hope) that I have inched slowly more towards the former, rather than the latter. One of the fortunate consequences of living a vegan lifestyle is that a lot of luxury products (e.g., the oft-coveted Louis Vuitton bag) don’t make it into my home because of the materials with which they are made (e.g., leather, cashmere, etc.). I’ve come to care increasingly less about how I am perceived, which helps me in many ways, such as having a small wardrobe and shamelessly repeating outfits.

My pursuit of a sustainable lifestyle helps me question all my consumption decisions. I question the importance of brands, particularly since so many luxury brands have very questionable ethical and environmental practices and, to be honest, don’t always produce the best quality goods. As an example, when I was looking for a new dishwasher, the brand Bosch was tossed around by so many people; while this brand is certainly known for the quality of its products, to what extent is the cachet of the name more important than the product itself? I did my research first and purchased a product under the Kenmore brand of the then still extant Sears. When I selected the dishwasher in the store, the sales representative told me that the machine was in fact, a Bosch, but produced under the Kenmore brand at a price differential of $1,000. The Kenmore and Bosch machines were next to each other in the store and were, in fact, identical. My focus was on quality, rather than brand name. I can think of a number of people who would have picked the Bosch branded machine, even if they knew the machines were identical, just to have the name appear proudly in their kitchen. Do we buy products because they are truly of good quality, or because we want to project an image to others (e.g., the ubiquitous Blundstone boots, or the always recognizable Fluevogs)? It’s become increasingly important to me to question my true motives and assumptions when I buy an item, as I’ve been guilty of conspicuous consumption for too long.

Sustainability, zero waste

Canadian sustainable cleaning products

I’ve done a good job of minimizing the products I use to keep my home clean. A few years ago, I used to make most of the products myself, but I quickly learned that this option is not always the better one, as I often bought three products to make one cleaner, which creates more waste than I liked, not to mention the extra storage space these products would require.

For most household cleaning tasks, I use the all-purpose concentrated cleaner from The Unscented Company, which is based in Montreal. Their products are vegan and the company is Leaping Bunny certified. TUC is also a Certified B Corporation, and women owned. TUC provides refilling options: You can buy their refills in large cardboard boxes, which are lined with plastic, as they contain liquids, but this still cuts down a large amount of plastic waste. You can also find refill stations in local retailers, such as Luminate in Bedford, which is close to where I live. The only downside is that the all-purpose concentrated cleaner does not come in refillable boxes; the regular all-purpose cleaner does, but I find concentrates to be a more sustainable and economical option, as you can use them at different concentrations for different cleaning tasks. I buy the very large plastic bottle of all-purpose concentrated cleaner (3.78 L), which comes with a pump. I mix one pump with about 500 ml of water and keep a spray bottle in the kitchen and both bathrooms, and use it also in my refillable spray mop to clean the floors. I’ve had this large bottle for about six months now, and I’ve hardly made a dent in it. The product cleans very well, leaves no residue and, of course, is unscented. TUC sells a number of its own products, as well as other sustainable household goods.

All-purpose cleaners are not particularly good for cleaning mirrors and glass doors. I used to make a DIY spray that consisted of one part water to one part isopropyl alcohol. While this spray worked very well, I was going through a fair amount of plastic bottles of the alcohol. Vinegar is a popular product for cleaning glass, and I can buy it in bulk, but I am not comfortable using vinegar to clean my glass shower door, as I don’t want vinegar to come into any contact with grout, as vinegar can be corrosive. I also have marble counters, which can be damaged by any errant vinegar. Finally, I’ve always found that vinegar leaves some streaks. I’ve recently switched to using tabs (pictured at the top of the post) made by Tanit, which is also based in Quebec. Tanit products are all vegan and cruelty free. They sell a number of products that come in tabs, including a degreaser, an all-purpose cleaner, and toothpaste. I use the unscented glass and mirrors tab. You dissolve the tab in a bottle filled with 500 ml of warm water; the tab dissolves in about five minutes and the product will stay incompletely dissolved until the bottle is empty. The tabs come in a compostable paper package. Tabs are very environmentally friendly, as they cut down on so much water, which also means that the products are lighter and cost far less to ship.

Another Tanit product that I’ve enjoyed using is their tab toothpaste. As I’ve mentioned before, I will not give up my fluoride toothpaste, which I use in the morning and evening, but for the rest of the day, I prefer to use a less wasteful option to clean my teeth. I’ve tried a number of toothpaste tabs over the years, but I’ve found them to be too harsh on my gums, especially since they did not always dissolve well and often contained a lot of baking soda, which can be very harsh on tooth enamel. The Tanit tabs dissolve very well and contain Nano-Hydroxyapatite (nHap), which is a calcium phosphorus compound found naturally in our bodies. Research has indicated that nHap can help demineralize teeth. I use the tabs after lunch and dinner. The tabs come in a glass jar and you can buy refills in compostable packaging (I am subscribed to the four-month plan). Tanit makes several other products for skin, hair, and household care.

Minimalism

Starting a low-buy challenge

Small cart on table of woman using laptop. Internet shopping concept

I have been wanting to try a low-buy challenge for a while, but I never fully committed to it. I’ve bought a little more things this past year, mostly in the form of clothes that I bought to replace items I’ve had in my closet for almost 10 years. It’s too easy to fall into a shopping mindset, so I want to put on the brakes for the next few months. Rather than wait until January to start a low-buy year, I’m going to start now, as this can help me avoid the scarcity mindset between now and then that could lead to unnecessary shopping.

Shopping fasts are common in the minimalism communities, so I’ve been exposed to plenty of methods and approaches. From these communities I’ve learned the importance of being accountable, so I will post frequent updates about my low-buy journey to help me cast a critical eye on my behaviour. I also want to make it clear that this is NOT a no-buy challenge; while I admire people like Cait Flanders, who have done this, I’m aiming for a more realistic and practical low-buy approach. This means that my shopping will be restricted to the following areas:

  • Groceries
  • Essential toiletries and cosmetics (no stocking up)
  • Cats: Food, litter, and vet visits
  • Medication and supplements
  • Car rental (every 3-4 months)
  • Hair appointments
  • Weekly visit to my local coffee shop
  • One take-out or eat-in meal at a local restaurant

I won’t need to buy any cleaning or laundry supplies, as I have enough to last me for several months. I plan on travelling to Europe in the summer of 2022, so I won’t count travel expenses in the low-buy, but when I get there, I will buy only essentials (food and transporation). If an emergecy arises, e.g., an essential appliance breaks down (e.g., the fridge), the low buy would not apply, of course.

I will report regularly on my progress. If anyone wants to join me, I would be happy to be your low-buy buddy.

Minimalism, Sustainability

Reflections on life without a car

Image source

This past July marks the fourteenth year in which I have not owned a car. I bought my first car when I started my first job (an elementary school teacher) and lived in a small town in South Western Ontario, where it was impossible to get around without a car, since there was no public transit. I faced a similar situation when I lived in Detroit, a city that is designed to encourage driving a car; which is not surprising, given the importance of the automobile industry in that city, and where public transit was limited. In Toronto, I hardly ever used a car, as it was much easier to get around with the subway and TTC buses.

When I moved to Halifax, I drove to work for the first few years, but switched to public transit. It’s not really possible to drive in Halifax without winter tyres, given how hilly the city is and how much snow and ice we get, but I couldn’t store tyres in my home. I started taking the bus to work and drove my car only on the weekends. I was never comfortable owning a car, given its carbon footprint, so once the lease of my latest car was up, I decided not to get another car. I had done a trial run for two months prior to this point to see how well I could manage without a car, and I found it surprisingly easy.

Fourteen years later, I can safely say that giving up owning a car was a splendid idea. I certainly don’t miss the lease payments, the insurance premiums, and the ever increasing cost of petrol. My employer subsidizes my year-long transit pass, which is also tax deductible. Not owning a car has saved me thousands of dollars a year. I live close to a car rental company, from which I occasionally rent a car for purchasing larger items, going on holidays, driving to the airport, and so forth. This rental agency allows me to pick up a rental from one location and drop it off at another without a charge (because I’ve been with them for so long), and I even get a discount through my employer.

While so many people can’t imagine life without a car and see not owning one as a burden, I enjoy the freedom and flexibility that being car-less gives me. I don’t need to worry about finding a parking spot, and when I go to a destination, I don’t need to circle back to where my car is parked in order to return home. I don’t have to go through the white-knuckle experience of driving through snowstorms and blizzards. Riding a bus allows me to observe the various neighbourhoods of the city at a leisurely pace, and I can catch up with my reading if I wish to. I also walk a fair amount, which is excellent exercise, and which allows me further time for self-reflection. I don’t ride a bicycle.

My shopping habits have been affected by my use of public transit. I need to plan my shopping trips more carefully, as it takes me longer to do them, and I can carry only so many things. This means as well that I rarely give in to impulse shopping trips. I have heavier grocery items delivered when I need to; this helps provide some income to the local delivery persons, and gives me the freedom to get that extra large bag of potatoes.

Owning a car is a luxury and a privilege that so many people take for granted. I recognize also that I am very privileged in my choice to not own a car; so many people do not have this choice. I am fortunate also to have a very good public transit system that allows me to get around the city. Not owning a car is the second most significant way in which I reduce my carbon footprint; the first is my vegan lifestyle. Being car-less is a choice I have never regretted.