Saturday, April 04, 2009

I gotta be green

A long, long time ago, when the earth was green (ha!) I went and listened to David Suzuki speak about global warming and what we, as everyday people, can do to help. To say I was inspired would be a slight understatement.

Since that day, we have made many changes around here to try and lower our impact on our dear earth.

Since them have I gotten disenchanted by the lack of compassion by others around me?

I have to be honest. Yes, very much so. At some points I have thought why to I spend so much time caring when no one else seems to give a rat’s @ss? I might as well just do whatever the hell I please too. What’s the point in caring when I might be one of only a handful that do?

But I am re-inspired and re-motivated when I talk to others who care too.

Yesterday, I did a post on Canada Moms Blog about why I think teaching our children to care is so important. About why caring about the environment and our impact on it goes well beyond global warming.

The comments I received lifted my heart up again. There are others out there who do care. My neighbors, with their lofty loads of weekly trash, probably not so much. But them I cannot control nor influence.

What I can do is keep doing what I know to be right, because I don’t know how to stop caring. My parents taught me well.

Here is a laundry list of some of the many things that we do around here that we hope lessens our impact on this great planet. Do they feel like a sacrifice? Not even a little bit. What they are is a way of life and once you start, it’s like riding a bike, there is no turning back.

- laundry – wash in cold water only
- laundry soap – use less than half of what the bottle recommends, your clothes are equally as clean and don’t smell like artificial chemical fragrances, score! ($$ saved)
- turn off the lights when you are not in the room ($$ saved)
- switched to cfc bulbs wherever we can ($$ saved)
- laptop is closed on standby when not in use (when you might ask? Well sometimes!)
- cloth shopping bags and not just for groceries – keep them in your vehicle on the front seat and grab and go
- no individual serving for yogurt etc, buy bulk and use Tupperware
- refill shampoo and condition bottles (believe it or not the salon lady tried to sell me new bottles rather than refilling mine because it would save me $10 – she was shocked when I said no, trying to save plastic here! Held my tongue on saying what I really thought of that policy!)
- save cereal box liner bags – it’s wax paper people!
- Buy organic locally produced meat (going vegetarian is not an option for us, we just can’t do it and since beans can’t grow within a 1,000 mile radius I don’t think that will really help anyway)
- When we eat fast food, I try to take home and recycle whatever I can, makes up a little for how annoying all the waste that is produced from take out
- re-usable veggie bags (oh how I hate those silly thin plastic bags that the grocery store and I just heard about these – thanks Anna. Just ordered them up, I’ll let you know how they work out)
- we try to avoid use of the A/C in the summer (I know, you might find it hard to believe that, we, who live in the Arctic need A/C but most people have it here)
- recycle whatever we can

Do I feel like this is enough? No. Do I do things that contradict my philosophy on trying to be more green? All the time. Does it bother me? Yes. My internal conflicts are fodder for another post. But I think this also highlights that I don’t claim to have all the answers or know the right thing to do. What matters is that we care. And in caring, change will happen.

That is my dream. And world peace, who doesn’t wish for that?

Give me your tips! I am always looking for new ways to reduce our impact!



Stethoscopes and Stilettos said...

Thanks for all of these suggestions, some of them I never thought of, but will definitely be trying them!

Natalie said...

i was so happy that i do most of those things already! i love buying in bulk when it means less packaging! um, but the a/c...not giving that one up! we only use the heater about 15 days per year so that has to count for something! we are using cloth napkins now instead of paper ones and trying to cut the use of paper towels. oh and growing some of our own is that for "local grown"! and since i started composting i have found myself going for walks on trash day and collecting some of my neighbors bagged yard clippings that they are trying to send to the landfill. i "take" them and put them in my compost! so much fun!!!

Lori said...

I do a lot of those, but we won't be giving up the a/c down here... it would be like asking you to give up the heat up there (o:

Cheryl said...

great tips Kami! I will try that yogurt one, I am bad for the individual servings......
You have inspired me to do more!!
And to watch an Inconvenient truth again...
Good luck on the long one tomorrow! Email me after!

Angella said...

We do what we can as well, but I am always trying to do better. It's a process, hey?

Amy said...

Shopping with an eye to packaging is a good one.
Cloth napkins and paper towel.
Saving glass jars for other uses around the house.
Composting whatever possible.
Shopping second hand to keep things out of the landfill.

Threeboys1mommy said...

I don't get why you're trying to preserve green of you live in white ;-)

Good job Kams, I'm right there with you.

Ashley said...

Wow great ideas.

We use the envelopes from bills as scrap/list paper. Why buy a note pad and cut down a forest when there is a dead tree already in my mail.

mamatucci said...

I try. Always use cold. But not so good with the laundry soap. I use way to much.

As for the A/C we are getting a brand new one in the house. I will definately try to limit it. But I dont i could ever be as good as you. But I am putting open up windows in the livingroom and diningroom for fresh air flow.

And all our new windows,appliances,furnace and hotwater tank are gonna be energy star. And we are also looking into those less water toilets. it is a start.

Kristin said...

David Suzuki! he is a legend in green. Great ideas, I love the mesh bags. one of my fav green actions is junk art. I love letting my kids at the recycling to use what they want to create. Then we recycle the art later. re-purposing is a great way to reduce waste by making object useful again.

nicole said...

We stopped using paper plates and paper napkins. We use cloth napkins and the kids use plastic plates. I have to run my dishwasher pretty much every day, but I was nearly doing that anyway.

A Crafty Mom said...

LOVE David Suzuki - I am a member of his foundation :) As I mentioned on your other post, we are a pretty green family. We do all the things on your list (no A/C in Ottawa is unheard of but we seriously almost never turn ours on) and I try each day to think of something new I can do for the environment.

I also dry our clothes on the line whenever possible (uh not today, it is snowing and raining!). I find the clothes stay nicer and last longer too. We used cloth diapers for all three kids - saved money there too AND didn't fill a landfill with disposable diapers. We eat organic and buy fair trade coffee and chocolate (uh, most of the time, I won't lie and say I don't eat some Laura Secord once in a while). We buy natural and environmentally friendly household products, cleaners, make up, etc. My dream is to drive a better car or get a hybrid some day. Luckily hubby's brand new job is downtown so he takes the bus every day and his car doesn't have to move out of the driveway.

GREAT post :-)

Alicia said...

I have just started buying all green cleaning products as well as cloth grocery bags and I feel like I'm helping. I know it isn't much but we as once can make a difference in our future. Not to mention the great habits were starting early with our children are priceless. Great post Kami!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I've been thinking of incorporating Earth Day and green stuff with our April homeschooling....

Alex Elliot said...

Great ideas! It's very important to me to teach my kids about respecting and taking care of our environment. We're taking a stab at planting some veggies this summer. I even got a book out of the library yesterday. I try to use reusable plastic containers to put snacks in instead of the pre-packaged ones, more green household cleaners, cold cycles for wash etc. I did hear that using only half of the laundry detergent recommended keeps your washer from having a soap buildup.

Ed said...

I need a do-over. My going green project failed miserably last year. You've inspired me to start anew. Baby steps.

Ashley said...

I just skimmed through some of your most recent updates.

Seems I have been on the outs for a lot longer than I thought!

Hopefully back to commenting and blogging normally! Glad to be back!


Controlling My Chaos said...

I can really relate to this post. We've been recycling, reducing and reusing for years and it's so frustrating to see people around us not doing it. I remember watching films in elementary school (decades ago) about our landfills and how much waste we produce. My environmental guilt and awareness has been in my life ever since.

Karen MEG said...

Since they've started picking up recycling every week, and garbage (anything not recyclable) every 2, I cannot believe how LITTLE garbage we really have! I could go a month and have enough just to fill our one can of garbage, and our recycling is usually limited to one blue box and our green-cycle box. That's it, I guess we're doing better by being aware. The biggest thing for me is the packaging, and since I pack up the recycling too, I try to minimize!

We also always wash on the cold cycle, we hang dry our towels, I do carry about a dozen of the recyclable grocery bags and use them everywhere (even at the mall). And bill payment envelopes I use for the kids school notes/money, as we'd recycle them anyway (I pay most bills via the bank, and get a lot of my bills via email or epost).

I also love that the kids' school has "litterless lunches" so they bring everything home that isn't recyclable. I bought a bunch of those Ziploc containers and use them every day, so I don't get garbage back!

What a great post, as usual...