Saturday, March 07, 2009

Inch by inch, Green is a cinch.

BlogHer asked members to comment on ways they've been "greening" their lifestyles. The post has a sponsor, of course. Doesn't everybody? I started to comment, realized I'd forgotten my password, and vowed to come back. As time passed and life went on, I couldn't help but think that my recent Green Growth couldn't possibly fit in a comment box.

You can tell from my blogs' names that I'm an environmentalist at heart. Compost Happens, A Mother's Garden of Verses... no doubt about this blogger's philosophies. Not at all. Then look through the archives: start with Mom's Playing in the Dirt Again! and then check out others under the labeles of garden and It's not easy being green. Green isn't just a color; it's a way of life.

I'm not "crunchy" green in the hippy sense, though. I gave in to Husband's desire to hire a lawn service. We use a clothes dryer, not a clothesline. Our home is air conditioned, although in our part of Wisconsin we are fortunate not to need it often. I drive a minivan, too. Hey, I'm a mom of a teen and college student. We're always filling the back of the minivan with someone or something.

The pale olive comparison (see above) is here so readers will know that green, like any lifestyle, has limits and levels. Seriously, it's easier than many people think. Teacher friends like to say "Inch by inch, learning's a cinch. Yard by yard, learning's hard." Incorporating environmental actions step by step, inch by inch, can be easy.

I garden. This section of lawn doesn't grow grass, doesn't need mowing, doesn't need any chemicals. It provides delicious and fresh vegetables for much of the summer.
We compost. Composting is easy, it cuts down on our family garbage, and it produces a nice soil additive each spring for the garden.
We conserve energy by using a programmable thermostat, minimizing the use of the clothes dryer, washing clothes in warm or cold water, and more.
There are more, many more, environmentally friendly practices in my home and family. Really, it's quite easy to bring green living practices into everyday use.

Back to the top. It would be cheating to simply list the above practices in the comment box on BlogHer's question. These are not new; they're habits we've built into our lives for years. New and recent additions in my family's eco-conscious behaviors do exist. For example:

We stopped buying paper napkins last fall. I keep them on hand (well, we haven't used up the package that was in the pantry when I set this goal!), but we have switched almost 100% to cloth napkins. This was a frugal choice: I bought the first set from a store's going out of business sale, and picked up a set of holiday napkins in new condition from a thrift store before Christmas. I wash them with the rest of the dirty clothes and towels each weekend - no extra laundry, no additional water/ heat energy used. This decision was so easy I wonder why I didn't start years ago!

I set a goal last fall of buying No New Wrapping Paper. My family resisted a little, so I didn't push it on them, but I predict they'll come around. I reuse gift bags, make tags from last year's cards, and collect rather than recycle packing material. It worked; I bought no new wrapping paper, and (don't tell them I noticed), my family didn't come home with any new paper, either.

My husband and I make a conscious effort to pay attention to buying local, especially in foods. That's tough in a cold climate like ours, and we're hoping to freeze more of our garden produce in order to avoid buying produce imported from out of the country. This is a nutrition decision as well as a commitment to minimizing our carbon footprint, as well as noting that local and fresh simply tastes better.

So, BlogHers, are you satisfied with my contribution? I almost hope not. I'm committed to living lightly on the earth, and there are many easy ways to lighten my footprint. In my future I predict a second compost bin, a rain barrel or two for the garden, and possibly a food dehydrater to make the most of my garden yield. Spinning the rabbits' shedded fur into yarn might not be possible, but I know that inch by inch, my family and I will weave the green consciousness into action.

And action, after all, is what environmentalism is about.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Lisa Sharp said...

It's crazy how it all builds. I started by recycling and now I'm building an organic garden, composting, eating almost totally organically, using only cloth napkins, no paper towels, no chemical cleaners, organic/natural makeup and even organic clothes.

I'm always looking for new ways to green our life. I would love to live off the grid! If anyone wins lots of money and wants to share that would be awesome! haha

3/07/2009 5:20 PM  
Blogger Scribbit said...

YOu'd be proud of me. I've been recycling--which for me is a big step. I've been at it for a year or so and am so proud of my greeness :) Sad huh? I'm finally get with the program.

3/08/2009 12:40 AM  

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