Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Okay, so it IS a lot of effort

I haven't done a green update in quite some time, but that doesn't mean I'm not being green. I'm actually working harder than ever at being green, and meeting with some success.

Tessa and I are bussing to school in the mornings, and I'm walking home, doing errands along the way. I calculate that if I bus 50% of the time (eg., mornings but not afternoons) I'm saving about 1000 miles of driving in our car - 2.5 miles each way is 5 miles round trip (remember, I don't stay at school!), or 10 miles per day, 20 days per month, or 200 miles per month, which is 2000 miles per year (10 month school year). Cutting out such a short drive - hey, it's less than 3 miles! - may seem insignificant but it DOES add up.

Errands on foot is time consuming, but I'm doing it. This morning after dropping off Tessa, Shep and I walked to PCC to shop and then walked home. I used my "old lady cart" successfully, but I have to say that an 80 pound dog PLUS a full cart and a several mile walk might be more than I can do that often - something's gotta give. Plus, it took 2 hours total (including shopping time) and that is a big chunk of my day when I have other commitments as well.

PCC is my preferred shopping location these days. I am buying as much local produce as possible; I'm careful to read labels. I love Bob's Red Mill; I'm buying local organic produce; my meat, eggs, and dairy are organic, hormone free, etc. I try not to look at the cost of the non-organic stuff, because it depresses me how much extra I spend on groceries, especially when our grocery budget is tight, but it's part of my value system and I do not want to compromise. I believe that my food choices are helpful to the planet, to the inhabitants of the planet, and and to my own body. I'm trying to buy sustainable, fair-trade products, as well, to protect the farmers who grow my food.

And I'm still growing my own food. We're moving into tomato season, and tonight we'll have insalata caprese with tomatoes and basil from the garden. We're still enjoying carrots, and the second crop of lettuce is looking good. Strangely, we're also still getting lots of fresh strawberries - and I love them!

I'm still baking bread, too. This is one area that's actually cheaper. I reuse plastic bags for the bread, I buy organic flour, and it's pretty darned efficient. Tessa thinks that everyone makes their own bread, and I'm proud that she prefers my whole-grain wheat to white bread.

Almost 100% of my cleaning products are green now, and I love that. I'm not breathing chemicals inside my house, which makes me believe that it's cleaner than it's ever been. Sure, there is a little dust sometimes, but nothing toxic.

I've fallen in love with Kiss My Face products - the care package sent to me went to good use, and we used their sunscreen and lip balm all summer. I found a tear-out card in a National Geographic Green Magazine that lists toxic chemicals found in body-care products, and now I keep the card in my wallet and use it when I'm making shampoo, soap, lotion, etc. purchases. Kiss My Face, Alba, and JASON are all favorite brands. I especially like Kiss My Face olive oil soap.

I've gotten rid of most plastic, and we're doing just fine with glass containers for food. They have plastic lids, but the percentage is so small, and the food doesn't usually touch the plastic, and I like that.

We are re-using containers whenever possible. I've started buying fresh ground peanut butter at PCC so we bring our own containers in. I'm buying in bulk, and I even have my own reusable produce bags.

We have a call in to have our second fridge removed; it's been unplugged for a couple months and we haven't missed it.

I'm shopping a LOT less, and buying a lot fewer things....and not missing out! I hate the packaging, and I don't want clutter in my house. This is a challenge, and not one I always enjoy, but I've improved.

I would be lying if I said it was all easy. It is not. It is a LOT of effort sometimes. In the mornings, as I'm out the door on foot at 8:12 to make sure we don't miss our 8:22 bus, I think "If we were driving, we could leave at 8:50 and get there with time to spare!" It takes double the time to shop when I'm trying ot reduce packaging, buy locally, organically, and nutritionally....I read every label and I still make mistakes. Sometimes as I'm walking home from school with the dog I think that it would be nice to just go to the gym "like a normal person" and not have a dog pulling me as I get my exercise; it would be nice not to have a 1 mile long hill as the last mile of my run (OUCH). I wish the green choices were cheaper; usually they're not. I wish they were the most convenient; often they're not.

But it's worth it. I am living according to my values. I am not doing it perfectly, and I have a lot to learn, but I am trying my hardest. It may be better than, or worse than, others, but it is simply my best. I make a lot of mistakes, but I don't stop trying. I am proud of that.

No comments: