Sunday, June 10, 2007


...This blog post contains gratuitous information about the environment and may cause some to run screaming. I realize they sound a little goodie goodie, but be assured I still do a lot of really contrary things like throwing out a container in the fridge rather than open it to see its probably hideous contents. I am sure your list could be longer than mine.

Kristin tagged me for a meme. There are no rules to follow really, just a list of your efforts to support the environment.

A few years back I worked at a botanical garden and had the pleasure to meet and work with many true naturalists, ecologists and taxonomists. In particular one of my friends, we'll call him Carl, would get the restaurant on site to use his plastic containers when packaging his take out order. I know it seems small, and maybe this is no new thing for some, but it really occurred to me then what a person can do to make a difference. He ate out at that restaurant at least once a week for the year so he saved more than 50 containers from the landfill. If we all had it would have been a much more impressive number.

I am not a real outdoors person. I remember my first camping trip with my parents was torture for me. The toilet—which wasn't nice to start—had BUGS in it. I was beside myself. This early experience aside, and even though I rarely camp anymore and still don't really care for bugs (don't even get me started on ants!!!), I would not want nature tainted for others or my children's children. I do my part—I could do more—but I try to be a steward for the environment.

What we do:

• refuse to use bug spray on the afore-mentioned ants. They seem to find their way into my house every spring. They are little ones, but VERY annoying and, though I have entertained thoughts of flame-torching them away, I have managed to keep them at bay using the least toxic methods I know—squashing, vacuuming, applying soap to the entry way (they apparently don't like hygiene), a 50/50 split of icing sugar and baking soda which is supposed to make them explode because they cannot digest baking soda—but I have my doubts as this is the least effective method, lemon rind, boiling water which is highly effective but good for outdoor use only, and talking to them in a very stern and commanding voice to "leave my house!"—did I say the icing sugar method is the least effective. I digress, onto the next thing I do;

• clean with green cleaning products, and various home-made recipes;

• we use low VOC paint, and other building materials with low environmental impact;

• I compost a lot, but should compost a lot more;

• we pick up garbage where it ought not to be, like at the park, and hope to teach my kids by example to take care of the places we derive enjoyment from;

• we try to buy local produce, but this really works best in summer. In winter I look for hothouse tomatoes and cucumbers;

• As it becomes more accessible we are buying organic whenever practical, and intend to check out this not-to-out-of-the-way organic farmer's market;

• For laundry I use hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine bleach;

• Drying laundry on the line as much as possible;

• I try to conserve energy and water: using the dishwasher and dryer at night, recycle, turning lights off when not needed, using cold water, use compact fluorescent bulbs, have a motion light in high traffic area, try to follow these guidelines;

• the babies use un-bleached diapers, and used a cotton service for baby one. I use a recycling service for the unbleached diapers;

• make use of cloth bags for groceries and shopping, or no bags if I have forgotten to bring them to the grocer—that went over really well;

• I donate unwanted items in the house to charity;

• use rags for cleaning;

• buy 100% recycled paper towels and toilet paper (tp isn't something the husband has adjusted well to)

What I would like to do:
• I would love to own a healthy home and live off of the power grid;

• would love to have solar panels;

• would love to sign up for BullFrog power—but am, admittedly, too cheap thus far. Maybe when we move;

• would love a hybrid for trips around the city, for those times when the kids aren't in the car. For now we keep our cars well maintained;

• wish I composted more and didn't get lazy about;

• want to upgrade our aged refridgerator, and washing machine. Honestly, they could collect a pension they are so old. I am told we have to wait for our move, so keep your fingers crossed that I get a freezer bottom fridge and front load washer soon.

This was a longer-than-expected post. Thank you Kristin, for tagging me. I am surprised at how long the list is. It never really seemed like all that much effort until I wrote it all down.


shelly d said...

Wow, I want to be just like you..... :)

So Much Fun said...

Sarah, wow, very impressive!

Anonymous said...

I am so with you, a new fridge!!
Also I am sure it is standard practice to throw out the sour cream or yogurt before looking to prevent vomiting!!

The_Add_Knitter said...

Your list is very inspiring...I also do many things you mention but feel like I should do so much more!

Yarnhog said...

"...which is supposed to make them explode..." So, I guess kindness to creepy-crawlies isn't high on your environmentally-friendly list! I am still picturing ants exploding--and laughing, I might add. I am not a fan of the little beasties.