Sunday, April 26, 2009

Post Earth Day.

I spent the week in Princeton, NJ for business this past week and didn't get to post on Earth Day. Isn't it so cool that we actually have an Earth Day? I think so. As we continue to grow as a species, it can be pretty daunting to think of the enormous burden we place on nature to sustain our bad habits. It is also inspiring to see all the innovation that is taking place (we are smart, aren't we?) as the need increases for sustainable solutions.

I look to our own household and some of the changes we have made just in the past year that have lightened our impact on the planet:

  1. Using my Klean Kanteen instead of plastic water bottles. While I have had other reusable water bottles in the past, the plastic one's were icky and other stainless steel brands got really nasty eventually because they were hard to wash due to the small opening. I LOVE my Klean Kanteen!
  2. We have switched from paper napkins to cloth ones. I can't imagine how much paper we have saved over the past year just in using cloth vs. paper.
  3. Using regular cups, plates and utensils when we entertain instead of paper and plastic disposable items.
  4. Eating less meat and more veggies from our lovely garden.
  5. Shopping more at the farmer's market and less at grocery stores. I have also rid my life of frozen meals all together. There is so much waste in the packaging and they aren't even that good!
This year, we have lots of new plans for more ways to decrease our foot print on the planet, including:
  1. Converting our front lawn to an edible landscape. Right now we have two huge pine trees and a Eucalyptus along with a large front lawn. They were all here when we bought the house 10 years ago. Now that Vynnie is the most amazing gardener, we will have the opportunity to create an edible landscape and hopefully inspire some of our neighbors to do the same.
  2. Creating more biodiversity in our backyard by getting some chickens! I am really excited about this since I am an animal lover. Can't wait for Fall so we can bring those lovely little chicks to their new home.
  3. Eating even less meat and even more organic fruits and veggies.
  4. Using our money to vote for the things we want to support. With the economy in the shape it is right now, our dollars are more powerful than ever in voting for what we want when we buy green, organic, sustainable and local.
  5. Creating artwork with more sensitivity to reusing, recycling and using Earth-friendly products when creating.
  6. No more plastic bags! I admit that I bought several reusable shopping bags, including one's that fit into my purse, and don't always use them. This year is the year to not put one more plastic bag into the system from shopping.
  7. I will be writing to some of my favorite stores to ask for better packaging options. One example is Trader Joe's. I love and adore Trader Joe's but why do they have to package all their organic fruits and veggies in plastic containers? I hope that they will find alternatives or quit packing these all together - nature already wrapped them didn't she?
  8. Limit our take out meals. Yes, it is nice to eat our favorite restaurant meals at home but the amount of waste that results from take out dining (containers, bags, plastic utensils) is unreal. Time to eat at the restaurant (and order only what we can eat there) or cook at home!
  9. Switch to sustainable house cleaning products. I am a big time Swiffer fan. It is so easy to run it across the floor, sweep up the fur balls and dust and toss it in the trash. The Swiffer mop is really convenient too, however neither of these products is sustainable or biodegradable. Time to find really good alternatives (like a dust mop and an old-fashioned floor mop) and reuse these babies!
  10. Give sustainable gifts and wrap them in ways other than paper or gift bags that end up in the trash. I saw the coolest thing at Cost Plus on a recent trip, fabric gift wrap and a lovely satin ribbon to tie it up with. You can reuse this again and again!
It's a good list for this year and something we can work towards. What are you going to change this year in the way that you live to help Earth?