Wednesday, September 05, 2007

it's not easy being green...

...easy on the wallet, that is.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that everyone who reads this blog knows me pretty well. Well enough to know that aside from my family, I'm pretty passionate about the environment and being healthy and a whole barrage of liberal causes (war on poverty, anyone? healthcare reform? education reform? anyone?).

Anyway, my desire to be green has only increased since the arrival of baby girl. Not only do I want to do my part to make sure the planet is inhabitable for her, I also want to set a good example for her. I want to live in a manner that being environmentally-friendly will be second nature to her. I don't want her to even think about paper towels or ziploc bags. It's not that easy, though.

There are lots of things that I want to do. Lots. I just can't afford it. (Or I don't know the cheap way around it). Like...I want a rain barrel for the garden. And a compost bin. I just can't find them locally, and I can only find them online for several hundred the oversized freight charges (and doesn't shipping the stuff negate a bit of the purpose?). I want to eat locally grown, pesticide free foods, but it's hard to do, though I know I could do it if I really tried.

Does anyone else feel like they have trouble committing? For instance, to start shopping more locally, we'd have to drive across town to the co-op or the farmer's markets. So, I'm already driving farther to the store. Second, it's crazy expensive. I'm not just talking organic produce and meat here, people. I'm talking about flour and butter and sugar and all the staples. Do I go to the co-op for the fresh stuff and then hit the Kroger for staple items?? I was pseudo-trying that approach for awhile. Sort of. When the new Fresh Market opened, I was going there religiously for produce and meat. Then S got a little older and a little less interested in being hauled in and out of the car for multiple errands. It became easier to just go to the Kroger down the street. The produce isn't as good, but since I'm trying to only buy things in season, it's been okay. I just don't know where to start. So, I'm starting a list. Things I do to be more environmentally friendly, and things I wish I did. Here goes:

Things the P family does to be green:
::cloth diapers
::homemade baby food
::cloth napkins
::chemical-free cleaners
::gardening (with no pesticides or chemicals)
::drive a hybrid (within the speed limit)
::keep the air set to blazing and the heat set to frigid
::wash clothes in cold water
::use our own shopping bags
::recycle like mad people
::buy in bulk
::use reusable containers instead of ziploc bags

Things we don't do, but I wish we did:
::eat locally grown foods only
::use a rain barrel for the garden
::use a clothes line

Things we do that I'm embarrassed to admit:
::still use Kleenex instead of handkerchiefs
::fertilize the lawn
::leave the computer and tv power strips on because we don't want to reset the clocks
::run the dishwasher on hot water

This is likely just the beginning. My brain is too tired right now to keep thinking. Anyone have any brilliant ideas on what we (and all my loyal readers) can do to save the planet? (Besides convincing Al Gore to re-run for president??)

This post is rambling...I'm trying to wrap my own brain around it, so good luck to you making sense of the whole thing. Happy Wednesday.


feather nester said...

My first response is: cut yourself some slack. Wasn't it you who left a comment on Jaynes Ave a few weeks ago about trying to find the balance between doing what you can without sacrificing your happiness? I think you meant by acknowledging and continuing the good you do, and not letting the fact that you're not superwoman (though you're dang close!) add to your stress level. So do that. :)

Second, one of Scarlet Lily and my friends from high school reads our blogs and she lives in Burlington, VT where they compost like crazy. My mom composts, too, though I think her own version, not necessarily the traditional way (she has a HUGE garden/property). Let me know if you want me to put you in touch with them so you can ask questions about getting started.

Finally, it's funny how starting a family has made me finally act on a lot of things I've known for a while I should be doing. I've always been green politically, but didn't walk the walk as much as I should. You're a good influence on me because you show me things that really are easy to do and that make an impact. So know that for whatever shortcomings you feel you have, you're influencing and educating other people, which probably has a greater impact than you could ever have independently.

Just keep on payin' it forward, sistah.

Lori said...

If you look at your list of things you do vs. the things you want to do/don't do, the do's highly outnumber the don'ts. That's great. You're doing a terrific job and S is sure to be positively influenced and inspired by all of your good habits. I know that Austin has various environmental incentives and one of them allows you to get rain barrels for free. They only give out a limited number, but maybe there is something like that in your area?
As far as the locally grown, I hear you! We have the same dilemma, so I do the best I can to buy local and just take as few trips as possible to do it.
An interesting tip I heard on the radio recently was to fill your car up at night when it's cooler. This puts fewer fumes into the air, which can keep temps lower and the earth happier.
I found this site for rain barrels and they include shipping in their prices and make their plastic barrels (they have wood also) out of recycled products.
Keep up the good work, green mama!

Leslie said...
is a site that tells you how to make your own compost bin, and you can tailor it to the kind of composting you want to do and the size of your garden, etc. And the other comments are totally right - I live in Cambridge, which is a pretty deep green, and you still do more than most people I know. I get lots of ideas from you, too. Keep it up :)

Angie said...

WM had made several compost bins for us/ other family members in the past...I will see if I can get him to add his 2 cents worth.

by the way, do you need a "Fred 08" sticker yet?

G said...

I'm an avid reader.
With these type of thoughts you should take part in in Blog Action Day on Oct 15th.
"What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on the same day?"
"One issue. One day. Thousands of voices."
This year's topic is the environment.