I got inspired by BabyAmore over at My Little Drummer Boys to post about this...
OK, so I know it's 'in' right now to 'go green' because of global warming and carbon footprints and all that...there is also a lot of controversy over it. I want to explain my position, and why I am an environmentalist.
1--Climate change is part of the cycle of Earth's history. Frankly, I don't see proof that humans are changing the temperature of the earth. I DO see that the temperature is changing, I just am not convinced that it is human-caused rather than part of the natural cycle of things...
2--I DO believe that pollution is a problem.
3--I believe that humans were given dominion over the earth (as per Genesis), and told to be good stewards over it. Being a good steward would mean taking care of Earth and its creatures, supporting life and beauty and nature rather than destroying them.
4--I believe that all living things have spirits (trees, animals, etc) and that the Earth also has a spirit. I therefore take it very seriously to show respect to all these things.
So you see, I'm not about reducing carbon footprints for the sake of reducing global warming...I don't even know if they are really related. BUT, I do strongly believe in being responsible with our world.
So, without further ado, here are some ways to be a good steward, save the world, and go a little greener! (no, I don't do all of them, but I do most of them!)
- Replace your light bulbs with compact florescent bulbs (the little twisty looking ones). They last far longer and use 1/10 the energy. They are a little pricey to switch all at once, but we started by just buying one package per month, thus replacing about 2 bulbs a month...
- If you need to buy a new appliance, consider an energystar one.
- A front-loading washing machine not only uses less energy and less water (about 2 gal per load), it also uses 1/4 the soap. (more laundry tips)
- Unless it is a super-grubby load, use half measures of soap in your regular laundry (in a regular washing machine)
- Consider a water softener/filter if you live in an area with hard water. It will allow you to use pure soaps and less of them. (Did you know that most soaps/detergents are 3/4 cleaning agents meant to clean the water, and only 1/4 to actually clean your body/hair/hands/dishes/clothes?!)
- Use cloth diapers
- Use cloth menstrual pads or a menstrual cup
- Use cloth wipes--for baby bottoms, for runny noses, for cleaning house...
- Use rechargeable batteries, or non-battery items!
- Use fabric shopping bags. You can even get super lightweight produce bags (which won't upset the weight scale making you pay for the bag as well as the produce) from places like this
- Try fabric gift bags
- Use a bento box or fabric lunch bag for taking meals to work/school or on picnics
- Buy organic (fewer pesticides in the ground, water, and animals)
- Buy hormone-free meat, eggs, and dairy (let the animals grow normally!)
- Buy locally (shipping things all over the place makes a lot of pollution! If I had to choose, I would buy local before organic)
- Plant a tree
- Raise a garden--your own fresh food will taste better and be cheaper than anything you can buy, and it will be healthier, AND it is the epitome of "local!"
- Reduce the amount of stuff you have around...
- Reuse things--old towels can be cut up for cleaning rags, old jeans make great camping blankets, old toothbrushes are great for scrubbing little corners It's like the old pioneer mantra "Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without."
- Recycle aluminum, plastic, glass, metal cans, paper, and cardboard
- Repair things whenever practical. After all, my son doesn't mind a big patch on his jeans. He's just going to bust through the other knee in a few months, so might as well get the extra life out of them!
- Compost--all fruit/vegetable waste (peelings, cores, seeds, etc), plus eggshells, coffee grounds, etc can be composted.
- Grow a garden! Use your own compost, and do away with the pollution that comes from shipping!
- Try to purchase items with minimal packaging, and/or recyclable packaging
- Use a washable water bottle like this or this instead of buying and tossing (or even recycling) plastic bottles...those plastic bottles should not be re-used by the way, as they accumulate bacteria, and if heated (say, in a hot car) toxins from the plastic can leech into the water
- Install skylights in your roof (so you won't need to turn on the lights as often)
- Try to buy things that will last longer, rather than things which will wear out and have to be replaced... (wooden toys and kitchen utensils rather than plastic, that kind of thing)
- Walk, bike, or use public transportation
- Drive a car with good milage (even a hybrid) if you can.
- Have good driving habits, including gentle acceleration and braking, using cruise control, and driving in the proper gear for your speed
- Clean your house with baking soda, salt, lemon juice, and vinegar. I'm not kidding--it works really really well. Here is a post with some specific uses
- Buy products with minimal packaging, so that you won't produce so much garbage.
- Re-use packaging, for mailing, storing, or gifting.
- Combine errands and do everything at once, rather than making multiple trips.
- Do lots of little things, even if you can't do big things, because the little things do add up!