Friday, April 06, 2007

Baby steps

My first steps in my efforts to lessen my personal impact on the Earth have been as follows:

Planted my first vegetable seeds in my windowsill pots. Hope to grow enough vegetables this summer to cut the grocery need in half for my family. This will lessen the amount of transportation traffic for the store's goods. (I'm also hoping to find an affordable farmer's market for the rest of my fresh produce needs. This also cuts back in the amount of transportation and packaging) Wish me luck... I tend to forget about those poor plants in mid-July when the heat is the worst and they need the water the most!

I FINALLY got out the extra garbage cans from the garage. We now have 3 sorting cans in the house. Looks absolutely beautiful to me. Paper! Plastic! Poopy diapers! All are separate. Hope to cut our family's garbage output by at least half.

I am deliberately making the effort to fill the washing machine to full, to cut back on the electrical and water waste. I honestly don't care if my clothes are "sparkling" clean or all that germaphobe stuff. Bacteria aren't all bad. I just go for the "illusion" of clean, anyway. And I was always trying to get the most bang for my buck anyway. I am, after all, a SAHM with 3 kids. Gotta get every dime's worth out of that shampoo bottle, ya know... So this isn't something terribly new. I'm just not going to do those small loads of pink or just a few jeans every once in a while.

The thermostat. Again, I was always pretty frugal with it before, but I turned it down 2 degrees, just to see if we could notice the difference. No big deal yet.

The lights...Oy. This will be hard for the whole family. We are renowned for leaving lights on, deliberately and unintentionally. Sometimes all night. We will only leave on the closet lights for the kids' nightlights from now on. And I am making an effort to turn them off more when I leave a room, or when the sun gets brighter, or if someone else forgot. The hardest part will be getting everyone else to go along with it!

My daughter is obviously overtired as she keeps turning the tv off while Evan is playing Star Wars (maybe she's absorbing the eco-friendly attitude already?!?) so I have to go before Evan takes matters into his own hands.

Any other helpful hints on how to cut corners ecologically? (No cloth diapers. Don't even try me.)
I'm open to suggestions!

Oh, and look at this hysterical link, copied from Dooce.


Elle*Bee said...

Sounds like you're off to a great start. One thing that helped us with out electric bill was to install a programmable, digital thermastat, if you don't already have one. I paid about $45 for one at Home Depot and installed it myself - it wasn't complicated at all.

This way, I can set the temps high enough in the warm months so that the a/c doesn't even kick on during the day until about an hour or so before we get home. Even when it does turn on, I have it set at what I think is a reasonable temp and it doesn't take that long for our house to cool to a comfortable temp.

I love it b/c I like to be cool/borderline cold when I go to sleep. I have it set to start cooling around 10:30 pm and to kick off around midnight (once I'm asleep, I rarely wake).

Jen said...

I use cloth napkins...have since Sean was in school it was to cut costs of buying paper....we only bought toilet paper for 8 years, no paper towels or anything.....I love paper towels now, sorry, not good for the envirnoment, but I LOVE paper towels, went without for 8 years.....anyway, my only advice is to not buy any more paper products except what is needed to wipe butts.

Good luck to you.....I've totally given up, my family is a bunch of hooligans.......

janjanmom said...

I am not an overconsumer...I am not ignoring my environment...I just don't believe Hollywood practices what it preaches and I think the rest of us do. I also don't believe CO2 is a POLLUTANT. Alot of other things we use are. Cow farts are not going to be the death of us. Chemicals added to beef might.

We are on the same page here, I believe and practice all of the same things you are doing here. Along with more natural and homemade foods in my family's diet-no packaging or preservatives.

I just happen to think Hollywood and especially Al Gore is looking to cash in on the rest of us being good stewards while they fly around in jets, spend millions on fashion and consume,consume, consume. They also create a whole lot of copycats who consume consume consume to "feel" rich.

I am not ignoring the environment. I am doing all the same things you all are-I just don't like Gore and the gang.

kate said...

whole foods has a new blog about being greener. it might offer you some good ideas or a place to share yours with others who are looking. said...

Janjan, I hope it didn't sound as though I was attacking you, as I didn't intend that. We obviously have way different beliefs on this topic, and that's ok.

Michelle said...

sounds like you've got a great plan going there!

janjanmom said...

No Tracey. You are sweet. I like to read blogs of people not just like me. It makes me think. It also brings out my old debating persona. I come on a little strong. Sorry.

I love passionate beliefs so much, I keep a few of my own. Just don't be a kool-aid drinker. Make sure you listen to both sides of the aisle. I think you do, some folks don't.

beth said...

I'm all about growing vegetables in pots this summer. I wish us both luck. I have a feeling you'll be more successful than me so I'll have to live vicariously.

Unknown said...

Good for you!

Don't forget to change your bulbs to CFL's.

Oh ~ and try composting your fruit and veggie scraps. Use cloths bags at the store, too.

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