Sunday, April 18, 2010

Earth Week 2010

This week marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Week.

Earth Week provides us an opportunity to expand our own knowledge while also sharing our existing knowledge with others. And so, in that spirit, what do you do differently for Earth Week? Or, if you are already living a "green"life, what are some examples of what you do?

For me I do the following on a regular basis: (I do others, but you can count on these happening daily in my house)
  • Carry my own water bottle every where (and I do mean everywhere, in the unlikely event you've run into me and I DON'T have it, I either left in a super rush or have lost/broken it since leaving home. I even bring it with me when I travel on airplanes. Just keep it empty until past security. I bring a stainless coffee cup in my suitcase, too).
  • Recycle. I've even been known to stuff items in my bag to bring home for recycling.
  • Garden. I try. I fail often, but I keep trying. I'm determined to one day grow my own vegetables and not have to buy them  at the grocery. If I manage to get the herbs to survive this year, that will be a happy baby step for me.
  • Farmers Market - I go when I can. I live in Michigan so it's a four to five month window for me, but I take what I can get.
  • Shop Local. I'm on a tight budget, but I will buy a locally made product whenever possible.
  • Reduce the amount of plastic in my home. This is hard. I have a five year old. He's past the age where his interest can be engaged by the wooden toys (which keep being painted with lead based paint, anyway). And an increasing amount of food comes in plastic these days. Much to my dismay. I work full time or I'd make more of my food from total scratch.
  • Reduce my family's meat intake.Honestly, they haven't missed it and my budget has been much happier. So has my stomach, my heart, etc I feel better in general.Though I haven't quite adjusted to the different taste of organic meat. (For those of you well ahead of me and eating only organic meat, you've forgotten how much different it tastes than some of those big name devil brands.)
  • Chemical Free (or as close as possible) health and beauty products - hair care, toothpaste, soap, etc. I make what little I know how to make and buy from reputable companies the rest of the time. I tried supporting locally for this, but then I read the labels ... BOO! Why go to the hassle of making it just to dump in petroleum products! 
  • I've shortened my showers. Not much, I love my showers, but I'm working on it. 
  • "If it's yellow, let it mellow..." We can only do it in one of our three bathrooms, but my son and I make an effort to use THAT bathroom as often as possible.
  • Coffee Press. My newest indulgence - and it helps the planet, too! No more bleached filters (even unbleached requires trees!) No junk in my coffee for composting. Less waste.  And truly, the coffee tastes SOOOO much better.
  • Air dry a good portion of my laundered clothes. I live in one of those crazy places where you are not allowed to hang your clothes outside. And I have a small laundry room, but I hang what I can. 
  • Roll Over. Yes, the stupid Cottonelle challenge taught me something. As a roll under person, it's really hard for me to put the toilet paper over the top, but I read on the package that it saves toilet paper because you use less. I thought, why not try it. At least in my house, it works. The roll keeps rolling when you have the paper feed underneath. So yep, I've twitched .. I mean, switched.
  • Sleep timer on the TV. I grew up with noise, lots of noise. So when I moved out and went to college, I needed noise. I filled the gap with TV. I sleep with the TV on, but rather than let it run all night, I set the sleep timer. Plus, you don't sleep well if there is noise during your REM sleep periods. Your brain doesn't turn off because the noise keeps it engaged. 
  • Bring my own bags.
  • Rarely print,  but when I do need to print, I use recycled paper. 
  • Share. I share my knowledge with someone every day. A snippet here, reminder there. Just a little something. The best way to learn is to teach.
So ... where can I do improve?
  • Well, at work (I work from a home office) I have three laptops running every day. Two work laptops and one personal. I will start turning my personal machine off at the start of the work day and I can put one of the two work machines to sleep when I'm working on the other one.
  • Shorten the showers. I relish my shower time, it's my only alone time when I'm not working. But I really need to spend my alone time doing FOR me. Like meditation, yoga, or working out.
  • Exercise, It may sound silly, but when I exercise I want better food. I want to do better in all of it. I want to be a better me. 
  • Listen. Look for new ideas. 
  • Eat more raw food. Raw food uses no energy to prepare. And it tastes so much better. 
  • Bring my own produce bags. I HATE HATE HATE those plastic bags for the veggies. I need to get some of those mesh bags. I want want want! 
  • Buy LESS STUFF. 
  • Learn to sew. I'm learning to sew (again). I'm terrible at it and I have little patience for it, but I am giving it a try.  The reality is that I'm a slob. I can ruin a perfectly good top on the third time out of the closet. Why not learn to find a way to use that fabric? I've made two items so far and have lot's of other ideas to go! Upcycle, baby!
There is so much more I want to do. But I want to hear from y'all. what do you do that you don't see here? What's your favorite tips to share? I want to hear from you! 

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