Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Earth Day

So Earth Day. Yes, I know it was yesterday and I’m writing about it today. No, I’m not sure why I waited until today. Ok, maybe because of time constraints. Maybe because I needed time to collect my thoughts. Maybe just because I was lazy yesterday and needed something to write about today. The world will never know.

I read many posts and articles yesterday complaining about having an Earth Day holiday. They all spoke of doing things every day and not just one day a year. I actually felt like I was reading about Valentine’s Day. Show the special person in your life every day that you care. Blah, blah, blah. Amazingly, I’m able to articulate my feelings on this subject more clearly when focused on Earth Day but really, they sort of apply to both.

I like Earth Day. I think it is a fabulous holiday. I think everyone should celebrate it. We might not all have a special love in our lives but the Earth is important to us all. (Even if you don’t agree – it is still important because without it WE WOULD NOT BE HERE.) Anyway…

As for the whole “do things to help the earth all the time not just on one day” thing, I do try to do things all the time. Shall I list a few? Because I will. And I actually like it when other people do too. Why? Does it make me feel good about myself to say, “see, see all I do,” sometimes. But most often I feel like, “That’s it? I really should be doing more.” I’m going to list what I do because when I read about what other people do it gives me IDEAS. Maybe they do something I’ve never thought of. Maybe they do something I had previously rejected but now that I think about it again I realize I too could try it.

The whole one day a year thing gives us a day to reflect on what we are doing and what still needs to be done. That is a good thing. That does not mean we can forget about it for the rest of the year but if we’ve pushed those efforts to the side to focus on other things (as we all do) it reminds us to pull the issue back out and reexamine it. It is a day to talk about and share ideas.

So my admittedly very short list of things we do in our home:

  • Change to CFL bulbs as the regular ones burn out. We have been doing this long enough that we are almost regular bulb free.

  • Recycle. I still need to get past the once or twice a year I’m too lazy to clean out the peanut butter jar and just toss it. Although, since I read someone else put it in the dishwasher – I have not thrown even one jar away. See what I mean about ideas from other people?

  • Walk to run local errands, build time into my schedule to walk to the kids local sporting events. This doesn’t happen as often as I’d like but the more I do it, the easier it seems to get.

  • Use reusable bags at the grocery store. This is something that definitely gets easier with time. The biggest road block? Remembering to put the bags back in the car or into my husband’s car when I take it.

  • Turn off lights. It’s the kids I’m having trouble training with this one. Anyone have ideas for that?

  • Turn off the water when brushing teeth. Since we were kids people. Are there seriously still people who don’t do this?

  • Back off on the bottled water. A couple times of year I still do this for convenience. We do reuse the bottles for quite a while and then recycle. Still, MUST STOP.

  • We installed low flow toilets a few years ago. Now I have to admit something. HATE. I hate them. The kids clog them almost every damn day. In fact, I need to get a new plunger because I believe we have WORN OUT ours. Who knew that was even possible? Not I.

  • When our washer died last year we replaced it with a front loader. Less detergent, less water, less loads because more clothes fit in it. (and I always do full loads because hello! 4 boys)

  • Buying more local and organic foods and less processed foods. With the cost of gas and groceries rising and our pay not getting higher, this one has been tough. But, it is one of the most important expenditures in our household. I still haven’t managed to buy organic milk by the gallon because my God, we’d be destitute in a week but we buy local milk and organic eggs. And if I could find someone local to buy eggs from I would. If I could keep a plant alive I might even plant a garden but for now I will take any and all fruits and veggies offered by friends and relatives.
Things I’d like to get back to working on:
  • Composting. At our old house we had a compost pile. When we moved into the village with a little yard we did away with it. I have looked at those compost bins you can buy and never could justify the cost. Well, it is time to revisit this. I was amazed at the reduction in our waste when we composted. I actually miss it. It is time.

  • Safer cleaning products. The ones I used in the past sucked. But, now I’ll do a little research and try again. I’ve been lazy about this one and there is no good reason why I should be.
I know we need to make major changes but baby steps people. Change takes time. And as much as I would like to get rid of my cars and get more fuel efficient ones or hybrids, that isn’t good either because my cars still run. So I’m saving and hoping they will last for another year or two at which point I will try to get the latest energy-efficient technologically advanced car.

So, now I ask you. What am I missing?

No comments: