Green Living – My Choices

Here are some ways that I ‘go green’ in my daily life.  [Note: there is no implied judgment about others here – do what you need to do!  The important thing, in my humble opinion, is to be well informed…  Every choice we make affects everyone else in some way shape or form.  And even doing nothing at all is a choice in and of itself.  So the least one can do is make a well-informed choice, even if it is to do nothing at all.  😀  Trust me, I have teenagers in my life – I have these kind of discussions on a regular basis!]

  • LIFE-LONG VEGETARIAN
    • I have been vegetarian my whole life and have made changes more recently that include a considerable decrease in processed foods, increase in local foods, less canned goods.  My choice to be vegetarian is very important to me and shapes who I am.  I chose to be vegetarian both for ethical and health-related reasons and am happy to elaborate.  I will post about it at a later time as well.
      • Regarding the canned goods, it takes a lot longer and more planning ahead to make dishes that require beans, for example, but there’s a trade-off between convenience and extra packaging/potential leaching from can lining (http://www.dotmed.com/news/story/10748/ ). ‘Prudent avoidance’ seems like a good tactic and certainly one that I ascribe to.
  • ORGANIC/LOCAL FOODS
    • I do try to get organic but only selectively get those organics as indicated by The Organic Center as being the most susceptible to be high targets of pesticide use. This is simply a matter of considering the cost of organics and the sources of organic produce and then making sure that we focus on getting organic versions of the most susceptible fruits and vegetables. Buying organic and buying local at the same time is made easier by having a good CSA (community supported agriculture) farm nearby and also growing our own of some things.
    • Buying seasonal local foods, eg. from farmer’s markets and the like can be so much fun.  And I do enjoy helping out on the farm whenever I get a chance.
    • I do have a vegetable garden and strawberries but I must say they did not do well this year AT ALL.  😦  Too much rain.  But I am hardly alone in that.
  • CONSERVING ENERGY – LIGHTS
    • We are pretty vigilant about lights and equipment and turning things off when not in use. And I try not to forget the large appliances that aren’t in use because while they may not draw that much power, it can add up!
  • CONSERVING ENERGY – SHOWERS
    • I take lukewarm showers or even cold showers sometimes.  Hot water isn’t good for your skin anyway!  This one was hard to get used to at first because I used to love hot hot showers… but then I learned to get used to taking really fast army-style showers.  Then again, I’m not really a girly-girl so YMWV on this one.  [The point here though is that whatever temperature you are used to, I can bet you can probably get away with turning it down a wee bit and save some $/energy.  Again – do what you need to do.]
  • I use a Diva Cup – THANK THE GODDESS!!  I won’t elaborate for fear of TMI but feel free to email me if you want further information.  I will post links to relevant websites also.  For women with heavy menstrual cycles and/or anyone interested in being done with/decreasing the amount of waste associated with this aspect of being female – learn on!  🙂
  • RECYCLING PLASTIC/PAPER BAGS
    • At home we reuse both plastic and paper bags as a regular course of things. We use them to take out the recycling, to cover the floors when the kids are painting, to cover the floors when we repainted the kitchen, for the kids to tear up and make crafts out of, to make signs, as gift wrapping or they get spruced up as gift bags, as liners for the tiny wastebaskets, to hold library books, etc.
  • RECYCLING CONTAINERS
    • Same deal with containers, eg. spice jars, sauce jars, large jars of honey etc.  Basically anything that comes in glass and is a decent size is washed and saved and reused usually for leftover sauces, soups, etc.  The smaller jars are used for buttons, pins, etc.  All kinds of things!
  • THRIFTY SHOPPING
    • I went to a wedding in a beautiful shimmery blue gown I got at a thrift store for $5. It was clearly something someone had paid over $100 for and was in perfect condition. Sadly I can’t fit into anymore (though for good reasons!!!)
    • Our local town craft fair is hit or miss for gifts but the associated tag sales have, in the past, yielded some interesting finds. It’s all a matter of how much time you are willing to spend to sift through things AND to haggle.
    • But haggling can be fun. And is also a valuable skill to learn even for regular stores. We typically don’t think of haggling as the domain of regular retail stores and it all depends, of course – but if you take a mindset of looking for bargains and ways to get a seller to cut you a deal, then you are more likely to find such opportunities. You never know if you don’t ask.
  • PAPER TOWELS
    • We use cloth towels when possible and choose-your-own-size towels only for the paper.  That just means they cut them into smaller sections so we aren’t wasting as much paper each time you pull off a section unless you really need a lot.
  • YARD WORK
    • We live in New England and have a long driveway. Ouch. So you might understand when I say that we made a conscious choice not to have a snowblower. That’s a conscious choice that has a lot to do with the environment and prioritizing our own resources. We do have a leaf blower but hardly ever use it. But let me tell you – every year is a challenge because we have a lot of trees!
  • CARDS
    • I like to make a lot of my presents/greeting cards every year … it’s fun to do with the kids too! I still buy presents, mind you but who doesn’t love a handmade present?
  • CLEANING
    • I clean with vinegar!!  And essential oils like lavender and lemon!  Oh yes.  🙂  Who needs nasty stuff like bleach (YUCK!  That stuff is toxic.  I’m actually allergic to it, in that I have trouble breathing around it) or other commercial products?  For most things, all you need is some vinegar or baking soda.  I’ll share some tips later on this.  There are good books out there on this too.
  • NO DRIPS!
    • Ok this one is both a $ saver, and a pet peeve.  I hate the sound of dripping water or squeaky pipes.  But I also hear the sound of $ disappearing so it is good to get those leaks fixed.  But I will freely admit here that I don’t always do it right away, pet peeve or no pet peeve.  DIY plumbing is no fun!  And plumbers ain’t cheap.  🙂
  • PLASTIC TOYS
    • I try to avoid buying the kids in my life plastic toys because I certainly don’t want to add to the chemicals they are being exposed to already in their daily lives!  Plastics leach out chemicals and plastic toys are almost always from China, and hence are not known for their safety profiles, which includes the paint.  So wood, electronics (like they need anymore stimulation!), BOOKS etc.
  • ETC.
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