Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My contribution to Earth Day

I'm not actually going to do any event for Earth Day. There are some neighborhood cleanups going on, but I am so swamped I don't have the time to spare. Instead, I want to talk about the things I am actively trying to do everyday to help save the environment.

1) Reusable grocery bags. Seriously, this is the easiest one for everyone to participate in. It does take some initial investment in the bags (unless you also have a wonderful mother who sews) but once you start using them, there is no going back to plastic. I bought mine at Resusable Bags.com. I love this set because it can hold a fully loaded grocery cart. If you have trouble remembering to bring them, when you write out your grocery list, write "bring bags" on the top of the list. Soon you won't need to write it down to remember.

2) Biking to work. It's easy for me to complete this one because I only live a mile from work in a small town. But I bike everyday, all year round (even in several feet of snow). I understand this isn't for everyone, but it's a small source of pride for me knowing I am not driving a car in those circumstances.

3) Buying local and organic. I can't always afford to follow this one, but when the price is within reason (my budget) I chose local and/or organic. Since we have such a short growing season here, it is hard to buy local fruits and veggies year-round. There is an orchard nearby we frequent towards the end of the summer and I have a small garden and we freeze as much as we can to last into the winter. Once you have had a garden fresh tomato, you'll never go back to the grocery store ones again. We also try to minimize the processed food we buy.

4) Lights, TV, LED's off. When I leave the room I try to make sure I turn off the lights. (Thank you Mythbusters for showing me that it pays to turn off the lights even if it's only going to be for a second. I never used to care this much.) I can't shut down my laptop at night because I have it set up to backup all my files, but I try to make sure all the other appliances and power strips are turned off. Every little bit helps.

5) Picking up my dog's poop. Yes, when you can see your watershed and you know how many dogs there are in this small town, picking up after your dog makes a difference. Plus it can really ruin a popular trail when people don't. And if my dog hasn't gone to the bathroom, I will pick up after someone else. I will use the plastic bags I receive from non-grocery stores when I forget to bring the reusable bags.

6) Recycle. Duh.

7) Showering less. I enjoy a warm bath or good long shower as much as the next girl, but I realize it's a luxury. So, if I don't think I need to shower, I just wash up with a washcloth. It works out to about every other day for me. Hopefully my friends and coworkers haven't noticed the difference ;-)

Hmmm, I know there are more things that we do to try and reduce our footprint on the world, but I am forgetting them at the moment. So, what do you do to reduce your impact? What do you think I/we/the world should be doing?

Update - Thanks to ReBecca for this link on 50 ways to help the planet.


ReBecca said...

Good post! I use bags that I have been getting at SVP and other various meetings for grocery bags, and when I forget I save my plastic ones for the cat box, which they work great for as a second use (even though they still end up in the landfill) :(

I am looking forward to getting back to Colorado where it is easier to eat locally/organic. I also own so many energy efficient bulbs that I laugh every time I move and take them with me. I must have 15!

The last place I lived had one of those huge jet-tubs and I only used it once. It such a waste of water and I always felt guilty for even thinking of filling it up! I do minimalistic showers, its such a waste of water to bother every day when you are not dirty to start off with. Hopefully I do not offend anyone either ;)

Crystal said...

I live on a tropical island in Japan where the summer is hot, really hot. But we close off rooms we are not using and turn the AC off in those rooms. We only run the AC in the bedroom when we are in it and keep the living room as 'warm' as we and the pets can stand it. Not only does it save money, it helps the environment.

eda said...
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