With A Little Help from my Friends...
My province is not terribly 'green' (yes, please yell at me for living in the land of tar sands), so it can be easy to just not do anything. If you are completely willing to pay the $2 per extra bag of garbage, so be it. For me, living rurally and recycling, the trip to the bottle depot can be quite astounding. I know if each and every one of you saw our stack of beer/wine/liquor empties in the garage, you'd be appalled. But i swear it was months and months of hard work getting those bottles empty and not simply, a 'weeks worth' stack. ~Sigh~
Human beings are by nature selfish. It's okay to admit that, really, we are. It is how we as a species progress. Having this tendency need not be bad; Turn helping the environment into your own selfish venture!
What i've learned, if anything, is that with each change i make in my life to be 'greener'--i SAVE that much more money! Fabulous! Who the heck doesn't want that? Sometimes the initial output for products like Norwex can be *ouchy*, no argument there. But vinegar and baking soda do a pretty swanky job too--and that costs only a few cents! Both the environment and your wallet will thank you (more moola in the RRSP? We all need that!).
It's not easy being GREEN!
So here we go! Feel free to jump in with your own ideas!
~change all lightbulbs to a lower wattage
~turn off the lights when you are not in the room (a feat easier said than done with kiddos!)
~instead of turning the heat up, put on a sweater
~'if it's only pee, let it be!' - flush for poop, hold off on the pee
~use a clothes line to dry clothing and sheets- nothing beats the smell of line dried clothes!
~cloth diapers for home usage- i admit to not going full-tilt cloth
~compost- LOTS of cities are now accepting compostable materials. Just.Not.Mine. Verdict is still out on what my 'sludge' will be in the spring.
~clean GREEN- as mentioned, vinegar & baking soda concoctions offer more learning than a chemistry class! Norwex (only one example) makes lots of products easy on the environment too! *The average family of 4 can easily spend up to $400 per year on cleaning products! WOW*
~wash clothes on the cold water setting.
~Rain barrels-- reuse water Mother Nature provided to water flowers/plants
~buy canvas bags and keep them in your car. Choose not to buy or take another plastic bag again. If you can carry your items to the car without a bag, do that instead. (Although my lack of plastic bags now finds me looking for unique ways to dispose of kitty litter?) Europe eliminated this ugly habit by charging ridiculous prices --would you buy a plastic bag if it cost you $5?
~Take the bus or car pool. Heck, walk whenever you can. But if you must drive, keeping your vehicle well maintained will lower your fuel emissions and fuel usage.
~Grow your own vegetables. Don't laugh--it doesn't take a greenhouse full of space to accomplish this. There are lots of varieties designed for growing inside in pots. Try it.
~Reusable coffee mugs/Travel mugs-- Lunch pails/Bento boxes-- things we use everyday should be fully recyclable. Save on the foil, plastic wrap, paper bags, paper cups. Give it up for good!
~Lots of modern appliances have timers these days. If you can, run the dishwasher/washer/dryer at 'off' times in the day/night. You will help the whole grid out--especially in the summer months where power usage is high.
~classic- turn off the gosh darn water while brushing your teeth. While you are at it, install low flow shower heads and faucets.
~reuse clothes that are not good enough to donate as rags for cleaning or camping. You can also use scraps around seedlings in pots. LONELY socks have been re-purposed!
And, the finale,
~Shop locally. Food that is grown nearby has travelled less and is fresher (My rule for no seafood where there is no water!). Purchase foods IN season and can/preserve-your-butt-off! I am currently having a love affair with my pickled beets... I am in LOVE with the whole 100 mile concept!! Anyone who has ever had fresh organic eggs versus store-bought KNOWS what i am talking about!
Let's make this list BIGGER! There has to be plenty of things we haven't even mentioned....
Start 2010 Greener!