Friday, January 1, 2010
I don't know that there's anything specific that I'm doing this summer to be green. Its more that I'm just continuing to make and get accustomed to the small changes that have been building on each other recently. I want to live my life more simply. For me and my husband, that means we eat food that is local and organic and sustainably produced as much as we can. We avoid “food” with 47 million ingredients, most of which we can’t pronounce. I make my own safe household cleaners and buy natural when it’s something I can’t make. We stay away from the thousands of unregulated chemicals in most health and beauty products. We live within our means and get rid of excess. We try to be conscious of how we spend our money and the true cost of the products we buy to others and the environment. We try to buy things that come in as little packaging as possible and recycle everything we can to reduce our trash. I am taking a natural wellness class to further learn how to run a safe and natural home.
Sometimes I feel like my steps are so small, but you've got to start somewhere right? For me, its not necessarily about things I "do" to be green, but adopting a new way of thinking and letting my actions flow out of that. Its about letting go of the hold culture has on me telling me it has to be done a certain way. Its me doing my own research and deciding what's best for me and my family. Ultimately, for me, it’s a spiritual issue – taking care of the body God's given me and the earth we’ve been called to be stewards of, loosening my grip on “stuff,” attempting to live my life in a way that doesn’t have a negative impact on someone else.
Thanks so much for doing this contest!
This email is about how my family and I are practicing our green lifestyle this summer.
A fun green thing so far has been the rearranging of our living room. We had a large tv that we gave away in favor of a smaller one. We found a super funky (sleeper!) couch at salvation army and gave the old couch to my sis. This is especially cool because when my sis sleeps over now she can sleep on the pullout bed versus a couch. I am really proud of our finds since we went through a period of time where we had to have the swankiest furniture. In the last month we gave away our first bed, our couches, and our tv. both my husband and i have started to realize that not only is consumerism wasteful, it encourages people to try to be better than each other. we want no part of that movement. We also don't want our son to grow up feeling like he needs material things to be "cool" or better than his peers. And in all honesty, our large tv was purchased so we would have a bigger tv than our friends'. (not cool i know, but we were so young...it was 6 years ago!)
The greenest thing happening in this home is our consciousness about the things we want versus the things we need. In an effort not to create more waste or excess we are carefully choosing the things we need and rethinking the things we want. This is true for our furniture and homegoods, our clothing and even the food we buy. Of course its summer so there is no resisting farmers markets but instead of buying excessively we plan out our meals and buy what we need. not only does this stop generating waste it saves us money! plus its really fun to try new recipes and then find things to do with the leftover ingredients!
i know this way of thinking is a step in the right direction and i am hopeful that more and more people are heading this way too. i am excited for the road ahead!
Thank you for the opportunity to share and to be part of an awesome giveaway. happy anniversary!
haven't. However, I do recycle and have taught my kids to do so also.
They may be young, but they are vigilant about making sure things are
placed in the proper recepticles. I wash clothes in cold water and
hang to dry. I use cloth diapers. I love farmer's markets and cloth
bags. We don't use plastic trash bags in our garbage cans. Every light
bulb is an energy saver bulb. We love our Kleen Kanteens. My kids and
I wash our hair once a week with an all natural shampoo bar and I
follow with an apple cider vinegar rinse. We also use all natural hand
and body soaps. Unless soiled we wear clothes more than once. I clean
with baking soda and vinegar. I love organic plant hydrosols as room
and linen refreshers. I use natural detergents. I treat all owies with
witch hazel. We carpool places and stay close to home for activities.
I am trying to grow a garden this year and have been enjoying having
chickens for the last month.
I just came across a new store, Hip Mountain Mama and found a contest that they are running. Win up to $200 at their store by letting them know how you are making an effort to be green this summer. Well poop. Usually I am teased about being crunchy but this summer I feel like I am getting soggier as each day goes by.
Generally, I make an effort to make sure that the lights and electronics in the house are turned off when we aren't using them, I shop locally as much as possible buying most of our produce from the farmer's market. I've even planted a garden the past couple of years and have done really well with the tomatoes if nothing else. I usually spend a good amount of time cutting up wool sweaters from the thrift shop, repurposing them into cloth diaper covers, hand bags, dolls, etc. Nick wears cloth diapers and hand made wool shorts (made by myself and other Work At Home Moms). We eat a lot of fresh food and make our own snacks, staying away from processed and packaged foods as much as possible.
So what has changed this summer? I am living in Ramada-land. My husband works 13 hours away from home; 4 weeks on, 1 week off. We decided to come up North to stay with him over the summer so that we could be together as a family. We moved out of the rental house that we had been in for the past three years and will move into a new one at the end of August. Our belongings are all in storage until then. I have no control over the energy consumption of the hotel, other than our little room. I don't think that the rest of the guests will be very appreciative of me turning off all of the hall lights and forcing them to use the stairs. Shopping locally here is next to impossible. I went to the farmer's market with high hopes last week. Hopes of stocking up on fresh local produce. I took out $100 cash for the market and ended up spending $6 on a bottle of fresh cream for my coffee and a small basket of Haskap berries. The market was full of baked goods, freshly butchered meats and handmade pastas. Unfortunately I don't have a kitchen here to store or cook these meats or pastas, and I can only eat so many pastries. So back to the supermarket we went. I have been checking the stickers on produce and have managed to find Canadian tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers here so far. It's a start. The weather is starting to warm up so I am hoping that the local produce will be coming along soon.
Another frustration of mine this summer is the diapers. The last time that we came here for a visit we brought the cloth along with us. I used wetbags to store the diapers in the bathroom and then went down to the hotel coin laundry to wash them every second day. Well, not being able to do partial cycles for pre and post rinses really added up. One cycle for a cold rinse. One cycle on hot with soap. Another rinse cycle to get rid of any residual soap. Two dryer cycles because one doesn't get the diapers dry and I don't have anywhere to hang them. That equates to $10 per load of diapers, or $30 per week. That is just a ridiculous amount of money to spend on washing diapers. I was resigned to the fact that I would have to use disposables for the summer. I settled on the PC "Green" ones. The cost is very low and they are chlorine and perfume free. Not ideal, but at least they don't stink like pampers. Then I thought about gDiapers. I thought they may be a good option for us. I picked up a few gPants from friends and also packed our fuzzi bunz shells to just lay a g insert in. I was happy that I had found a halfway decent plan. The shells wash up easily with regular laundry, dry quickly and the inserts are a bit more biodegradable than disposable diapers. I didn't buy inserts before we left because our van was already packed to the roof with luggage. We arrived here and of course, no one has heard of gDiapers. We now have to make a trip into Edmonton (3 hours each way) in order to get diaper inserts. ugh. I am back to being stuck with disposable diapers until then.
Of course I am not sewing either this summer. I brought wool yarn (a whole suitcase full actually) and my crochet hooks and am plugging away at some projects that way.
While I struggle with imported food and cloth diapers I guess on the other hand we have reduced our "carbon footprint" in a way. We aren't living in a single family dwelling, consuming our own gas and hydro. We are sharing the resources with many other people and I guess that has its benefits. I also don't have a whole house to worry about keeping up with. We are able to enjoy more of our day just doing whatever we feel like. We can head out to the beach or the park without worrying that housework is getting behind. We brought our camping gear along with us and as soon as my husband has a couple of days off we will be able to set out and enjoy that.
No, staying at the Ramada for 6 weeks may not seem like the greenest thing out there but I guess we all just need to make do with what we have and do the best that we can with each given situation.
Normally, I like to stay green all year-round, but after going to Lilith Fair, I decided I needed to do something more, and what better time than the present, the (almost) gorgeous summertime in San Diego!
When eating out, I always bring a cloth napkin with me, and never accept paper napkins if offered. If I don't finish my food, I have a container I bring from home and package it myself. This has gotten quite a few stares before from employees, but once I explain, they are nice about it. I bring my reusable water bottle EVERYWHERE! Restaurants are getting better at letting you fill them instead of getting a cup, which is great. Also, don't use plastic cutlery! It's one thing to do these things yourself, but it's another to inform others of WHY you are doing these things, so that you can spread the word to others and spread the movement. If people aren't informed, they can't make informed decisions about their actions and how a small act like asking for an extra plastic fork, is really affecting the planet.
I am thankful to live in a community with farmers markets galore and a wonderful co-op (Ocean Beach) that covers any food need I may have. These farmers markets are offered on different nights (normally Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays), and it always gives me great pleasure to peruse the aisles, seeing what will make my mouth water this time! I also recently (in January) moved to a new studio where my landlord gardens with passion, and there are fruit trees, vegetables and spices in abundance in the backyard. I have free range of any of these, and being a vegetarian, the veggies and spices come in handy!
It might not be much for now, but it's a start and a movement and change in my life that grows each and every day!
Thanks so much!
This summer is a continuation of our green lifestyle! We were green before it was very popular, but there is a lot more still that we can do. For us, green living is a way to better health because that is the immediate effect. Saving the planet? Great, but I will not be around to see that happen. This summer we are focusing on 'less'. Because buying less and spending less are 'green' actions that don't always receive much attention. We're not doing this just because finances are tight, but because we genuinely decided we don't need more stuff or to make ourselves more busy. We are very careful with any purchase we make. We quit chasing the dream of a grand vacation. We enjoy simple things that aren't powered by oil, made of it, or transported by it. We don't buy toys, we don't need more clothes, we invite company instead of taking a road trip. Quite frankly, our daughter is easily amused with something as simple as a blade of grass (see photo). We build real relationships that create memories. In our superficial world of consumerism, this lifestyle is fresh and in the face of mainstream. It is so freeing, simple, and eloquent!
I love your blog! Thank you.
First, I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you. I think this is great!!
My name is Gloria and I've been doing a lot of changes in my life and my families. About 4 yrs ago I encouraged my children to recycle plastic bottles. My husband or I would then take them after a month or so to redeem all they've collected. My children enjoyed it for about 1 1/2 yrs then after we stopped redeeming, but kept our recyclables separate from trash.
A few months ago I decided that I wanted to started growing my own vegetables. I always hear all the good about growing your own fruits and vegetables from my mom and mother in law. My mom grows her own tomatoes, zucchinis, watermelons and herbs. My in laws grow her own lettuce & spinach and she has a few fruit tress. I love eating their salads and fruits. This year I will try my mom's watermelon and zucchinis.
Well, now I'm happy to say that my garden is now blooming with tomatoes, green peppers and green onions so far. I really want to expand my garden and grow fruits like strawberries and blueberries, but I need to make room.
I have also started to shop at my local farmer's market. The fruits and vegetable their are so much more tastier than the market. Besides, by me shopping there I am supporting all those farmers who are growing such delicious food for us and most importantly the enviroment.
Another thing I've been doing is changing my cleaning supplies. I've been buying eco-friendly supplies. I never knew how harmful most of these chemicals are especially for our children.
I'm very happy that I'm making a change to be more environmentally friendly. It's not much, but I'm getting there. I love my planet and I want it to last for several several more years.
slogan Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. With everything my family does or
buys this summer these thoughts go through our minds to see if it fits
into our green lifestyle. With our new addition to our family at the
start of the summer this has become more challenging and more
The start of the summer for me means to think of ways to Reduce. We
aim to reduce what we buy therefore reducing the amount of waste that
our household contributes to; from manufacturing processes, packaging,
and consumer waste. I planted a vegetable garden to reduce the
groceries that we will buy throughout the summer, we have harvested
enough already to supplement many of our dinners. In addition to
reducing what food we need to buy we also consider where the items
come from and the amount of packaging included when we have something
we need to buy. Once we determine what we need as we will not buy
wants we source the best alternative to buying the item. Our
considerations include does the item need to be new, name brand or can
we wait for something similar with less waste associated with it.
Reuse is the next green goal that our household lives by. From simple
actions like turning old t-shirts into cleaning rags to more involved
actions like salvaging items from others trash to repurpose we are
reusing what otherwise would have been destined to the dump. Before
any item gets put into the garbage thought is put into if it could be
used for any other purpose.
Finally what waste we do produce will be Recycled if possible. We use
our composter, Green bin, and blue bins to reduce the amount of waste
that our household produces.
Being green is not something I ever saw myself doing. It wasn’t even anything I set out to do. After the birth of my second child in April, money was a bit tighter than normal. I knew I wanted to give cloth diapering an honest effort. While researching what cloth diapers I wanted to purchase, the issue of detergents came up. This set off a string of events that have led to my “going green”.
I elected to purchase BumGenius diapers, however was under the impression that drying them would take some time. Our dryer is older and usually takes 2-3 cycles to dry a load of clothes. While budgeting for my diapers, I also decided to include a clothes line. I LOVE my clothes line. It gets my clothes dry faster than the dryer, with no electricity. I can wash larger loads, and I have a great reason to get out and enjoy the sunshine every day. I can also count on one hand the number of times I’ve used my dryer in the last few months.
By using cloth diapers, I switched from a chemical laden detergent to Charlie’s Soap, which is a much better detergent on my clothes and the environment. There is no reside and it almost completely biodegradable, which means it is less harsh on my septic system. By the detergent being easier on our clothes, and not using the dryer to dry them, they will last much longer. I am still trying to find a recipe to make my own cloth diaper detergent to save even more money and packaging.
While researching laundry soap, I came across recipes for homemade dishwasher detergent. I made it the next day as I was almost out of Cascade. With four simple ingredients, that are much safer for the environment and my family, my dishes are cleaner than they ever have been. Even vinegar is an excellent rinse aid.
Vinegar and baking soda are my staple cleaners. I had some vacuuming powder (the kind for pets) left and used that on some carpet. I had to air out the room for two days as I could no longer stand the chemical smell. Same goes with Febreze. The cleaners that I once used and thought smelled clean now all smell like chemicals. I have realized that clean does not have a smell. I have yet to find anything that vinegar and baking soda will not clean. My clothes smell like the summer air, not because of the additives in the detergent, but because they are actually in the summer air.
A new farmer’s market has opened near my home. I have been purchasing all of my produce from there, rather than driving 30 minutes across town to the only grocery store that has produce worth buying. We had hoped to start a garden this summer, but it didn’t happen. It’s a goal for next year. Amazingly, the eggplant I planted in a container last year is growing. So, I guess it’s a start. We are trying to purchase the bulk of our food from local markets, and eat what is in season. It tastes better and is better on the environment.
In a nutshell, I was probably one of the last people who ever imagined going green. My husband may even have a fit if I suggested that is what is occurring. Although it started as selfish reasons, it is continuing on because I’ve realized that it’s not that difficult. It takes less time and money to wash the diapers, order the detergent, or mix up some cleaning products than going to the store, and as a busy mom, that makes it all worth it.
My family and I are new to the living green lifestyle. Currently we are living with my parents so implementing new ways is tough with two very set in their ways older adults. Never the less we have made some changes and have HUGE plans to implement more when we move into our own house in a few months! Some of our goes to go green has not panned out as well as we had hoped for on the first run. But we will keep trying and we will get it....eventually!
In no particular order:
Garden: We had big plans, I mean HUGE plans for a good size garden this year. I grew up with my grandfather taking care of three ENORMOUS gardens so I thought it was in my DNA. Not so much. The weeds grew faster than anything. We also went through a drought that did not help the situation. I think we have salvaged 1 cucumber plant, 1 pepper plant, a few green bean plants and a tomato plant. We have taken notes on what we want to change next year or even for a fall garden.. if we dare to brave it.
Canning: Since the HUGE garden that we hoped for is not so huge this is not as big as a project that I was envisioning. I still may get a bunch of tomatoes from the Farmers Market and can them so I am not buying more waste from the store as we eat tons of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. I will can grape jelly.
Waste: We have started to recycle our aluminum cans. This as not been that much of a transisition as I thought it would be. We have a separate trash can strictly for cans! I have reduced the a mount of paper products we use. I like to use our actual dishes others not so much. I and finishing up making cloth napkins and rags to eliminate the need for paper towels. If I do not have cloth grocery bags (I seem to forget them still) I ask for as few bags as possible then use the bags again for other things like lunch sacks or small trash can liners.
Cleaning products have been revamped, slowly. We are making a switch to more environmentally friendly products even just vinegar and water.
Our two year old is almost completely potty trained so disposable diapers are out the door. Cotton panties all the way!
We have switched out incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones as they need to be changed.
I have been making gifts for birthdays and other holidays this year. They are more personable and cheaper. For wrapping I have been recycling previously gifted paper and bags. One friend of mine have used the same gift bag for all of our children's gifts for the last year. We just gave it back and forth until they moved recently. The bag was even made out of 100% recycled paper!
We pack out lunches... usually leftovers from dinner the night before so we do not have all those little baggies from sandwiches and chips.
For my birthday (July 3) I received, from my wonderful husband, a composting bin. I cannot wait to get that together so we can have great compost for our plants and somewhere to put our scraps and compostables.
WOW looking back at that list we really do do a lot. I would like to start recyling more of our waste. When we move we will get bins to separate the items. We also plan on cooking more at home like bread and pastas to reduce waste and other unknowns that are in the foods!
Thanks for all you do. You truly are an inspiring mama!
Poked by Hip Mountain Mama to share if you do anything this summer to live a more Eco friendly lifestyle, I got inspired to share my annual ritual: my out-door shower.
Yes it is a bit more cumbersome, and timing is essential, but think of all the electricity saved by not running the water heater all summer long.
Here my setup. Yes very primitive, but oh my the view! The shower bag is celebrating the 3rd anniversary and it takes me less than a third to take a shower! The water is heated up during the afternoon, in case I need it earlier, I will fill it up from the water hose which is in the sun most of the day. The carpet keeps the poison oak down at least for a little while:)