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Why your shopping bags (and other personal changes) matter

Updated: Feb 18, 2022

I’ve been noticing a lot more electric and hybrid vehicles out on the road recently. Ever since my parents bought a Prius when I was in college, I have been doing an informal tally on the percentage of eco-vehicles I see and the number is definitely the highest it’s ever been.

This matters for two reasons. First, the obvious reason: our society has to make this change now (really twenty years ago) in order to curb transportation-related emissions. But second, and I would argue, equally important, people need to see those electric and hybrid vehicles out on the road. They need to be normalized and commonplace before some people will make the change. While my parents’ Prius in 2007 was a political statement, now Priuses (Priyi?) are just a good, solid car option that happens to be better for the Earth (which is still, of course, why I drive one).

The same goes for shopping bags. When I first starting bringing my own shopping bags to stores following a year in Germany (where plastic shopping bags didn’t exist!), I was ridiculed and stared at. Now, while not totally adopted by shoppers (especially thanks to the stigma they received during Covid), it’s a totally normal thing to do. Reusable shopping bags should be a no-brainer and their benefits, as long as you use them consistently, are obvious. And, the more of us who do it, the better!

Hanging your clothes out to dry, buying local foods (or growing your own), carrying your reusables with you, and drinking filtered tap water instead of bottled are all ways to show your commitment to the planet. Extra points if you put the clothesline in the front yard, announce your travel mug at the coffee shop, and post about all your changes on social media.

Everyone has their own comfort zone, but I try really hard to draw attention to my car and bags and other environmentally-friendly choices when I can (hence GreenLifeNH!). Yes, it can sound like bragging or like I’m being “holier than thou”, but the facts are that these changes have to happen. Those of us who have already made these changes personally are responsible for spreading the word and normalizing these habits. Our future depends on it!

Want to make some big eco-changes in your life? Check out my 2021 green resolution list. Not ready to go big? Check out our Green Living section for other ideas. And when you make a change, flaunt it! Show it off to friends, neighbors, and perfect strangers. Post about it on social media. Shout it from the hilltops. Whatever fits your style.

– Hannah

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