Wednesday, April 22, 2009

If green is the new black, then I'm inching toward chartreuse...

As a mom, I've been giving a lot of thought to the part I play in the world my children will inherit.  I really want to make sure that at least a few of the beautiful parts of the planet I grew up with are available to my children.  I won't lie, it's a difficult and, dare I say, uphill battle, to balance the deluge of information, the cost of "green-living," and the aspects that will actually work in my family and in my life.  But, rather than grumble about the changes I've not yet made, or the difficult decisions that lay before me at each turn... I'll share some of the [VERY] small things Patton and I have implemented around this here house.
  • Probably the biggest decision we made, early on, was to use cloth diapers.  We researched endlessly, crunched the numbers and decided that the benefits of cloth diapering were huge in comparison to the inconveniences (which I must admit are very small- especially considering the blow-out factor and the amount of poo I was handling on a regular basis with disposables)  We loaded up on bumGenius 3.0's and have never looked back.  When you factor in baby two, the cost savings in addition to the eco-savings, are H.U.G.E.  
  • To go along with the diapering, we switched over to a high-efficiency front load washer and dryer.  The washer uses a miniscule amount of water and detergent in comparison to a regular washer and it is amazing the difference it's made to our water consumption.  That beast spins the hell out of the laundry, cutting the drying  down to a fraction of it's old time!  LOVE IT!
  • We use eco-friendly soaps all over the house:  Laundry detergent by Charlie Soap(I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!) dish and hand soap by Kirkland's 'Environmentally Friendly' line (leave it to COSTCO to come up with a catchy name *Pshaw!)  and use Seventh Generation or J.R. Watkins Natural Home Care cleaning products.  Bleach use is near non-existent, though I must admit- it's been a bit more common in the last couple of weeks in ridding our house of the yuck that followed Sofie home.
  • I buy as much organic food stuffs as my budget will allow, and am making a concerted effort to buy local and in season (very hard to do at GIANT, but the local farmer's markets will start up again in the next couple of weeks and I'm salivating at the thought!).
  • I shy away from scary plastics in both furnishings and toys for my babies and encourage play with toys made of wood or other sustainable materials.* I also having been working hard to keep the purchase of new toys and products to a minimum.  I am making the effort to search for gently used and recycled items before buying new (Thank you Craigslist and Freecycle!)  *this is not to suggest that I don't have a fair share of Fisher Price lurking about!
  • We tote reusable grocery bags.  We've switched to compact floresence. We use recycled containers instead of Ziplock bags.   Just this week we installed a tankless water heater (which in addition to ultimately lowering our electricity consumption has encouraged us to use more cool water (saving us major dough!)).  We turn off the lights at night, keep the thermostat at a reasonable (and sometimes not so reasonable temperature- 68 in the winter=BURRRRRRR)  and keep our electronics plugged into a power strip which we switch off while not charging.  

I know this is not life changing stuff-  I also know there is a lot more we could and should be doing as responsible and educated citizens.  But this is a fair start, and I hope to continue implementing positive changes... which leads me to the real reason for this post.... a question.

What small thing do you do in your daily routine that I might implement into mine?  I'd love some new ideas to re-energize the pursuit.  So, do tell!  

And while you ponder... pictures... of all natural babies... made of real ingredients... and stuff.


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