Friday, April 30, 2010

Arbor Day

It's Arbor Day today.  This past year, I've made a huge effort to be more Earth friendly.  I hate to admit it, but in the past, I've always felt like it was too much work to be environmentally friendly.  (That's so bad, I know!)  But I decided that hard work or not, I must do my part to help save the Earth and I slowly started making changes.  I found it's really not that hard to make a difference.  You just have to take baby steps.  And baby steps are okay because everything you do helps.  Here are the changes I made this past year:

1.  I started buying local.  We shop at our farmer's market every week and purchase fresh fruit and vegetables that are locally grown.  The less trips those big trucks have to make to my grocery store the better.  And the rewards for doing this have been huge.  Our food tastes fantastic.  When we do have to run to the grocery and get something in a pinch, the food we bring home tastes flavorless.  AND our grocery bill has gone down!

2.  I bake my own bread and make my own jam.  Again, no big trucks to the grocery.  No plastic packaging.  Just delicious, fresh bread & jam to eat.  Not exactly a sacrifice.  Plus, I know exactly what is going into my family's bellies-no additives or preservatives.  The cost is pennies, the taste is a million times better!

3.  Shopping with canvas bags.  I've brought a canvas bag with me to run general errands for quite awhile, but I always avoided grocery shopping with them.  I make one big trip a week and thought it wasn't worth the trouble to find enough bags.  One trip to a trade show and I had about 7 canvas bags and I didn't have an excuse anymore.  I mean the bags were FREE promotional items.  They could sit in my closet or I could do something worthwhile with them.  A lot more groceries fit in those canvas bags and the fact that I can sling most of them over my shoulder, means that even the heavy ones are easy to carry.  My grocery store gives me points to earn a rewards "check" if I use my own bags and I'm making about $2/month just by bringing my own bags!  Not huge, but it's $24/year that I didn't have before.

4.  We only use cloth napkins.  This is the one I was dreading.  What a pain!  How can I live without paper napkins?  It's easier than you think.  I had a huge number of cloth napkins I've collected over the years.  I rolled them up and put them in a basket.  Each day, we each pull a napkin out.  After each meal,  we hang our respective napkins on the back of our chairs at the table.  (It's rare that we are so messy that we can't reuse it again.) At the end of the day, the napkins go in the laundry and we start out with a fresh one each morning.  I have more than enough napkins to last us the week using this process.

I have more baby steps planned too.  I would like to clean with natural ingredients and start replacing beauty supplies with all-natural products.

Do you want to start being more environmentally friendly?  Here's a really easy step you can take today:

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According to a study by Alexander Wissner-Gross, PhD, physicist at Harvard University and environmental activist, an average website causes about 0.02g (0,0008oz.) of carbon dioxide for each visit. Assuming an average blog gets 15,000 visits a month, it has yearly carbon dioxide emissions of 3,6kg (8lb.). This can mainly be tracked back to the immense energy usage from (mainframe) computers, servers, and their cooling systems.

I don't know about you, but I didn't even think that my blog was causing a negative effect on the environment!  But you can make your blog carbon neutral.  Simply go to this website, read about their program and then add their button to your blog.  Let them know you did and they will plant a tree.  Check it out today!

Okay, so does anyone have any suggestions for "green" solutions and/or beauty products?  Leave a comment and let me know.  Or just tell me the baby steps you've taken recently to help the environment. Then go outside and hug a tree.  It's their birthday today.  (Oh!  I just thought of this...wouldn't it be fun to throw a tree a birthday party?)