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  • Writer's pictureLarissa Klinger

You Gotta Start Somewhere

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

We are constantly hearing the facts on climate change. It seems like a bigger problem than we can possibly solve as an individual, and in many ways it is. We get overwhelmed at not being able to do everything... so often we do nothing because we don’t know where to begin.

This was my state of thinking for a long time. I didn’t know where to start and felt like nothing I could do personally would make a difference. Today I am living and sharing a more environmentally conscious and sustainable existence that I hadn’t thought possible before. So what changed for me?

My journey actually started with nothing to do with “going green” or “saving the planet”. It was a change that all came about because of my allergies. Yep. Allergies! Here's how:

Like so many people I suffered my entire life from horrific allergies. After decades of dreading springtime and travel, I was feeling desperate to figure out how to live a life without them. One day after completely bombing an audition (my allergies were so bad I couldn't sing) I thought to myself: "I'll clean my apartment top to bottom to eliminate anything that could be a factor in why I am suffering so bad." Determined to beat this life long battle I got out every cleaning product I owned (kitchen bleach, stainless steel cleaner, dust spray, furniture spray, glass cleaner, floor cleaner, carpet cleaner, bathroom bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, shower tile spray, tub cleaner). Just as I was about to begin my cleaning frenzy I happened to glance at the back of one of the cleaning solution bottles and my cleaning project was brought to a screeching halt. Most of the products I had been using for years were telling me to wear a mask and gloves while using the product because the contents were toxic, and to not even be in the room after cleaning so as not to risk inhaling the fumes.

My interest was peaked and my research started. Why was a product that was intended to help solve the problem of dirt so dangerous it required a warning and special protection? How could that be good, and safe?

I began to learn how our immune system receives input through inhalation and even skin absorption from the environment and produces an adaptive response. I looked up every chemical in my cleaning products and found that they can not only exacerbate allergies, but they can weaken your immune system as your antibodies are in overdrive to fight foreign substances in your body. My collection of cleaning products was toxic to me and the environment. The very thing that I thought was intended to help me was igniting my body's allergic response. On top of the harm these chemicals caused to my body they were all packaged in plastic containers that were not totally recycle friendly...I was consistently just throwing them away to end up in a landfill every time they were empty. That's when it hit me that I needed to do better. I said out loud to myself, "You gotta start somewhere."

And I did. That was my first step towards living a more sustainable life. I started really small by researching non-toxic DIY cleaning solutions, purchasing two refillable glass spray bottles, and making all my own cleaning supplies. Click HERE for my recipe.

I took this picture of these spray bottles in the fall of 2017 and decided I would document and share my journey on Instagram (and now here), to see if over time I felt like I was making a difference. And that was the start of The Article. Little mini articles...sharing tips and DIY tricks, recipes, and a look into a New Yorker trying to live everyday a little more conscious of the environment.

Click HERE to see the how much I kept from the landfill in my first year alone.

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