Monday, October 15, 2007

You Do What You Can - But Can You Do More?

Another day I'd like to bring to your attention is... Today!

Today is Blog Action Day: The Environment. Today is about raising awareness. It's about those little things you and I and your next door neighbor can do to make this world a better place. It needn't be complicated. You don't need to be stressed out about it. You don't have to do a lot all at once. Just promise to do something. Start with a small ripple; make big waves.

Remember those Breck commercials? In 5 seconds of tv-time, that woman had a screen full of friends using that shampoo... and you know what, they all had great hair. (Work with me, here.)

Well, let's say you read my blog. And I tell you about what I'm trying to do to be more environmentally sound... and you think, "I can do that!"... so you do... and then you tell your mom or your coworker... and they do it too... Soon, we'll all have great hair! (And water, and air, and so forth.)

Let me start by saying I take no credit for any of the things I'm going to tell you. I'm a great follower... a copier of others... So when I hear a great idea from someone else, if it makes sense to me, I embrace it. I'll try to give props to those that earned it.

[Click through for more]

I want to say I've been trying for a while, but in a passive way. I would recycle when possible.. I'd try to turn lights off when I wasn't using them, I turn the water off when I brush my teeth.. But sometime last summer, I read a lot about CSA's. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it stands for Community Sponsored Agriculture. I'd read about the super-fresh and interesting vegetables bloggers were getting each week, and I wanted that for myself! Thing is, each CSA takes subscribers early in the year - say, February. The subscriber submits payment and the CSA then takes those payments and gets their farming supplies for the season. You essentially pay it forward, with the hopes that they have a fruitful, productive season. So I'd missed my chance. I did, however, do a lot of research, so that when the time came, I could get in on the action. While I waited, I made weekly trips to my local farmers markets. You can too - find yours at Local Harvest. Joining a CSA means you will get veggies, fruit, eggs, flowers, and sometimes meats, that are local, often organic, and wholesome. You can feel good about the food you put on your table.

Let me tell you what I loved about being a part of a CSA this year. I looked forward to my pick-up every week. I never knew what would be in my re-used green bag, and often, I'd never purchased or prepared some of the vegetables. Before this summer, I never knew I liked Swiss chard. Now I have some seeds so I can try to grow my own!

My CSA season is over, so I'm back to the weekly farmers markets. I think I've mentioned before that I'm completely smitten with them. The quality and quantity of the produce and the friendliness of the growers keeps me going back.

When I go to the market or to the grocery store, I try to take my envirosax's in with me. In fact, I keep one in my purse at all times - just in case. What I also have, and what I wish I used more, are these neat little ecobags. I do use them at home, to store onions and the like in my pantry. Both were recommended to me by my friend Marcie. She tried to get me to switch to eco-friendly cleaners and toilet paper... but I haven't yet made the switch. (Maybe soon.)

We've also made the switch to organic, humanely raised meats - and really, I couldn't be happier about that. Yes, happier animals, raised in the way the animals were meant to be raised (running amok in grassy fields, feeling the sun on their backs) really do taste better. But they're also much easier on your conscience. We watched a very informative (and really scary) documentary last week, which only made me happier with our decision. That, and now we have a butcher. I always wanted a butcher.

Because I've already yammered on this long....We've changed out our light bulbs, we commute together to work more days than not, I try to use reusable water bottles and coffee mugs as much as possible. We also bring our lunches in reusable lunch bags.

Changes I'd like to make: I want to be even better about the shopping bags. Because I keep one in my purse, I'm good about using it for small purchases... but there have been a few times I've forgotten to bring the other bags in with me - and I keep them in my car for crying out loud! I couldn't make it too much easier on myself, but still I forget. I look forward to moving into our condo and to all of our new energy-star appliances. I look forward to our new car (someday - but it will be a hybrid.) I'd like to try out some of the newer household cleaners that aren't as full of creepy chemicals. I am also going to cut back on my magazine subscriptions. I get way too many, more than I can read. And what do I do? I go through and rip out the pages I want, tossing the rest into the trash. It's wasteful and silly, in this Internet age. My friend Marcie also suggests signing up with Green Dimes. Not only will they help you cut down on your daily junk mail, they plant trees for you. Winner!

Lastly, and I haven't really discussed it with Dave, is I want to look into offsetting our carbon footprint. It doesn't strike me as being terribly expensive, if anything, it seems like it's a bargain.

Okay, so if you're still reading (and I know that was a lot of ramble), this is easy. Get a reusable water bottle. See how you like it. Then maybe visit a farmers market regularly for your produce. Make friends with the farmers... feel the warm fuzzies... then maybe get the reusable grocery bag... you can do this. Start small, ease into it... see how it makes you feel.

You might be surprised.


Sanjiv said...

Thanks for the 'winning' comment about GreenDimes.

Anonymous said...

I did start shopping at Farmers' Markets and bringing my own bags to the grocery store this summer (though I have so much trouble remembering). Humanely raised is important to me too ~ I should find a local butcher.

Katie, you inspired me in another way, though it doesn't have to do with the environment. :o) I saw your pink text and wondered what I could do for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I was lucky enough to run across a fellow crochet fan who makes hats for women and children going through chemotherapy. I'm now working on my second hat for :o)

If not for your pink text, I might not have given this month much thought.

Katie B. said...

Sanjiv - glad to!

Lori - It truly is the little things that get you in life! The Head Huggers organization sounds like a wonderful one to be involved with - you're making a difference in people's lives, and that's awesome!