Eco Challenged

I have always cared about green spaces.  My dad used to tell me I was a tree hugger mostly because I found the value in nature.  I never really liked recycling, reusing, and I never thought about reducing but as I have gotten older and learned more these things have become increasingly important to me.  The problem is that everything we do as human beings seems to involve consumption to some extent or another.

I have been trying to be more eco friendly while also being more cost wallet friendly as well – these feat is proving challenging.  I find myself giving up because it is much easier to buy what I need without trying to research what is what.  Overall I think living an eco friendly life would be of more value to more people if A.) it was more cost effective and B.) easier to navigate.
I tired using labels – ‘100% natural’, ‘certified organic’ – at first I felt good about that despite the extra dollars that may have left my pocket.  And then reality sunk in, these terms don’t always mean what they should.  How can something be called 100% natural when the process that makes it is wasteful and harmful?  When the plant the product came from was ‘protected’ with pesticides?  How do we actually define organic?  Honestly I think that might just be a buzz word in most cases to make people feel good.
Then I start thinking about clothes and shoes – which leads me to bras and underwear.  Clearly in this case the fabric is going to matter because clearly I am not going to ‘reuse’ those items.  I have felt pretty good lately since my family uses less water than in the past even though we now have a little girl running around the house and our energy/gas bill always claims we are more efficient than our most efficient neighbors – a pretty big accomplishment in a house over 50 years old I would think – and then I started getting into crafting again.
I bought a brand new sewing machine instead of finding a used one that ran well and just wasn’t needed any longer, I bought yarn blindly because I don’t really know anything about the types of fibers – and then realized that some of the eco fibers are from animals and that I would have to research brands to ensure the technique was humane.  I also started thinking about the crochet hooks I bought and the knitting needles, yes I enjoy the art but at some point all of this just translates back into additional waste.  And of course I bought the metal hooks because they were less expensive than bamboo and I just plain old like the feel of them better.
Do you have any resources you use to find eco friendly and cost effective alternatives to everyday consumption?  Any tips on cutting through all the noise and aligning competing desires?  I’d love new thoughts and resources – please share!
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