Thursday, July 10, 2008

Part of the Solution

My pal Crazedreamer was 100% absolutely right in her comment on my last post about being a Greenabe—if each person makes one green choice it will make a difference in the state of our environment. My past post has been bouncing around in my mind a lot lately, and all the articles I read about the state of our environment always have me thinking about how our world is going to hell in a hand basket. And it bums me out. I’ve always been so aware of enjoying the beauty that is in our world—I pay attention to the fresh smell of the air when we’re sailing, the orange and magenta streaks in the sky produced by a sunset or a sunrise, the glow of a full moon, the bushiness of the trees when they are full of leaves in the summer. I love it all. And I’d hate to think of all of that going away someday.

I like to think of myself as an optimistic person. I’ve learned that to be the part of a solution to a problem, you need to have a positive attitude. Instead of being stressed out about the destruction of our environment, why not look at it in terms of what we are doing to halt that destruction? A positive attitude is contagious, and when I am positive about something I am doing to benefit the environment then someone one else will catch on and then they’ll be inspired to do make a change in the way they live too. I don’t want to be stressed out about it anymore. I want to fix the problem instead, which is the very core of what being a Greenabe means to me.

So, here’s my little dose of optimism for all of you to take with you. Here’s my list of just 5 green habits I’ve adopted in the last few years. I have adopted these habits because I sincerely feel that they are going to help our earth continue to be a beautiful place to live. And with this, I spread my optimistic idea that I too am making a difference:

  1. Recycling. The last two towns we lived in have decent and easy to follow recycling programs. But it’s gotten to the point where I’ll bring home recyclables from work or if we have something recyclable in the car I will hold on to it so I can recycle it at home. If we recycle that reduces the demand for goods that are made with new materials.

  2. Green cleaning. I have been avoiding the use of chemical based cleaning products in our home. I like Method cleaning products because not only do they smell very nice, but they also use renewable energy in their plants and offices where they make the products. I like that I can support a company that makes a conscious choice like that, and want my purchases to encourage them to continue to do that.

  3. I bring a reusable sandwich wrapper for my lunch. It’s a wrap-n-mat, and it’s great. I eat a sandwich almost every single day, imagine how many baggies I saved. Before I bought this wrap-n-mat thing, I was using foil for my sandwiches that I could bring home and recycle. But now I do not have to use anything else other than a reusable package and I am not disposing of anything so that I can eat my turkey and Monterey jack.

  4. I am known for my lead foot in the car, and passengers in my car have had their faces pulled back from the speed at which I drive. I have since slowed down to about 55-60 when I drive, to conserve fuel. Yes, it is agonizing for me to go that slow, but it’s worth it to save on the gas. I may be imagining it, but I think that other people are driving slower as well. I mentioned yesterday that Todd and I have been commuting together to save on gas. It’s been working out well, and while we probably won’t ride together every single day because his work schedule is different than mine is some days, it still counts for gallons of gas that we are not consuming.

  5. I pay extra attention to the packaging of the products I buy in the supermarket. I don’t buy things like tubes of shampoo anymore; I buy brands that are contained in plastic bottles made of 1 and 2, because those are the only ones we recycle in our town. I will not buy a dozen eggs contained in styro, and I pay attention for things that are made out of recycled materials.

Here are 5 green habits that I plan to adopt in the very near future:

  1. Todd mentioned in the comments yesterday that we're putting solar panels on the boat. The power on our boat comes in the form of 8 big batteries. Six of these batteries are used to run things like the lights, the fridge, running water and all the creature comforts that we enjoy aboard. The last two are reserved on a separate circuit just for starting the diesel engine. We either have to run the diesel generator or the engine to keep these batteries charged, which causes us to use fuel and pump exhaust to close to the ocean that we love. This summer we will install solar panels on the boat that will help us keep the batteries topped up, and the diesel tank full. Imagine if every boat in our mooring field did this, we’d save so much fuel.

  2. Todd has built a clothesline for me, but we have yet to install it in the lawn. I am hoping that we will install it in the next few weeks—I am trying very hard not to turn this into A Life of Nagging, but I’d really like to get this done soon. (To be fair, Todd has already tried to install it, but we have very rocky soil on our lawn and we need a more powerful post hole digger to get through those rocks.) But imagine if everyone dried their clothes on a clothesline in the summer. Electricity use would decrease dramatically and we wouldn't face things like roving blackouts.

  3. Get my car tuned up and inflate the tires. I know for a fact that the oxygen sensor on the Jeep’s engine is not working properly. If I get the car tuned up it’ll run more efficiently.

  4. Replace the light bulbs in my house with more energy efficient ones. I am doing this as the light bulbs die out.

  5. Keep some reusable shopping bags in my car. I have a ton of reusable bags at home that I take with me when I do the big grocery shopping. They hang on hooks at the top of the basement stairs so I can take them with me on my way down to the garage. But that doesn’t help me when I am stopping at the market for a few things. Just the other night I brought home groceries in three plastic bags. I do reuse those for trash bags, but still, if I stop twice per week and get 2-3 bags each time? That’s a lot of plastic that I’ve just created the demand for.

See? I am part of the solution, and becoming more so all the time. Seeing it all laid out here makes me feel a bit less bummed out, and I am hoping that anyone who reads this will see that being a Greenabe really isn't that hard.



Blogger Ruby said...

I am crazy about recycling (which is why I have 3 trash bags of cans in my office, but thats another story). Thing is, I've always only thought about it after the fact. That is, when I go to throw away a plastic bottle, thats when I look for the recycling symbol.

But I went shopping this weekend, and thanks to your post, I started checking the plastic bottles before I bought them. I can't believe I hadn't thought of that before. *blush*

On a related note, I wrote a letter a couple months back to Aquafresh b/c I hate that Extreme Clean is the only toothpaste out there that comes in a non-cardboard box. Unfortunately, my love for Extreme Clean surpasses all. I have tried other toothpastes, and I just can't get into them.

July 14, 2008 at 6:48 PM  
Blogger The Creeper said...

I try not to buy eggs in styro cartons, strictly because I don't like styro egg cartons... not on styro principle, I just don't like them. But on the off chance I do, i don't feel quite so bad anymore because we recycle as Bill's brother has chickens.

You know why people don't dry laundry on clothes lines? Kids. And the sheer volume of laundry they go through. And the fact that such a large number of women work outside the home these days, rather than being at home with the time to put clothes out on the line.

July 16, 2008 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger *~*Cece*~* said...

We buy eggs in cardboard. T has replaced our bulbs. I drive slower to conserve fuel. I do need to air my tires, so thanks for that reminder.

July 18, 2008 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger *~*Cece*~* said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 18, 2008 at 4:04 PM  

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