I could start by saying that we (me and Tiago) are not the most environmentalist couple in the world. Not that we don’t care. We do. I cry every time I watch documentaries about polar bears starving to death and Tiago, after having read something about how dangerous plastic bags are to the environment, once decided to refuse plastic bags at the supermarket if he hadn’t brought one with him. The thing is we always forget to carry cloth bags with us. So we always end up buying reusable bags that we never reuse. The same goes for the electricity bill, which we continuously try to reduce. But we watch too much television and must always have our laptops switched on. We are as lazy, careless and conveniently oblivious as most of the people we know and that is scarier than the trash island in the Pacific.
And then came this challenge. In fact, I had already participated in smaller eco-challenges before. They had a positive impact on me and, consequently, on we as a family. I read a lot about energy efficiency and did some really tough eco changes: I started using public transportation to go to work; I bought a stainless steel water bottle and even stopped eating dairy and meat. But the fact that I live 30 kilometers (18 miles) away from my work and that it took me over one and a half hours (each way!) to get to my destination drove me crazy. I could read a lot in the train, that’s true, but in the end of the day I had the nasty feeling of losing three precious hours of my life on a daily basis. I quit the train, without guilt or remorse.
Finally the birth of our baby daughter, now 5 months old, raised our awareness to the state our planet will be by the time she is 30. We would like her to grow up in communion with nature. But there is less and less nature to commune with and that is scarier than our eco oblivion.
So, what do we expect to achieve with this challenge? First of all, it is a way to start. We do not want to feel over-challenged with an endless list of rules and interdictions, but we are surely going to do our best to complete the weekly assignments. Our primary weaknesses relate to waste reduction and energy consumption, so we are going to try to focus more on these points. Most important of all, we want to learn how to teach our daughter to respect nature through our deeds, not our words.
I am Monia, age 31, and I am a technical translator. Tiago, my life partner, age 35, owns a market studies company. Our daughter Ines is a lovely, chubby baby girl and we can’t wait to see her grow up in a healthy environment.