Greener Wednesdays: Paying Attention

As I continue on my green journey, I am finding out it's a lot easier than I expected.  Cheaper?  No.  But when it comes to mine and mine family's health, should price really factor in?  No it shouldn't.  It just takes creative financing.  Shifting dollars from here to there.  Say for instance, you are a paper towel freak (like I am, trying to ween off our reliance on these buggers), but you reduce or eliminate your need for them and switch to reusable cotton towels, napkins, etc., you can take those dollars you would normally spend and apply them some place else, like better hygiene products, better meats, organic produce, etc.  You just have to make the choice, and work towards it.  It can be overwhelming, but it's also very enlightening as you learn about making better choices.

It's also addicting.  I first started my green transition by simply choosing to recycle all paper and plastic products in my house.  I want to gag when I think about all that I used to contribute unnecessarily to the landfill, but we've committed to change and we're encouraging others to change, and that is what matters most.   Once we really decided to recycle, I would say 3/4 of what I'd normally throw away was recyclable.  I was amazed at how much my little house could contribute to greener practices.  Then I naturally wanted to focus on green eating and cleaning.  Once we get into a more permanent housing situation, where I can actually have a garden, I plan to start composting as well.  Recycling really is easy once you decide to do it.  The problem that I've noticed with a lot of people, myself included, is they don't think they can make a difference.  But can you imagine the damage we could halt and potentially turn around if everyone had a green epiphany?  My mom kinda had that mentality until I was telling her some information I had learned.  She was disgusted and since has started recycling in her home.  Yay Mom!  My 5 year-old daughter, used to just throw away her yogurt and applesauce cups until I made her dig it out of the garbage can (don't worry, it was right after she had done it and it was on top), wash it, and put it into the recycle box.  She gets it now.  She doesn't want "God's Beautiful Earth to be dirty and gross."  She now knows to recycle.  In fact, she has requested that we go around our neighborhood this weekend and pick up any trash we might find.  *melt-my-heart*.  I feel I owe it to her as a parent to instill these values young.  And at this point, she just wants to help out and do whatever I'm doing.  It's a win-win situation.  Speaking of applesauce & yogurt cups...a lot of waste there.  I have now started buying a big jar of applesauce and yogurt vs. a bunch of individual servings.  You might now think things like this don't make a difference, but they do.

We're also being aware and paying attention to things like water and electricity waste.  Turning off lights, appliances, etc. when not in use.  Teaching Penelope to not go overboard when washing her hands or bathing. 

No, Penelope...you don't need 12 pumps of soap to wash your hands.  One is enough.  

Teaching her to not dump half the bottle of shampoo on her head.  These things also go along with her learning to be independent, but if I can teach her a lesson about not wasting, it's worth it.  She's very diligent about things once she learns the reasoning behind them.  It's so cute to watch her want to make a difference.   She doesn't fully get it all yet, but I can't wait until the day she really understands what an impact she is making to live a sustainable life.

I'm also learning that by living a more green life, it naturally makes it a simpler life.  At least for me.  We are less impulsive, think before we spend, weigh our options instead of buying based on convenience.  It takes time, but it feels good to make these changes!

What are some of your favorite green practices?  Have you always been green?  What was your green epiphany?  Please leave a comment if you'd like!  I'd love to hear all your great stories & tips!


Jessica O'Brien said...

i recommend reading the book "no impact man" by colin beavan. [http://www.thegreenlifecostore.com/m8_view_item.html?m8:item=2712] a man living in new york city with his wife and young daughter, decided to completely reduce his impact on the earth for a year, and documents how that sacrifice changed him, his opinions about life, and his family's overall life.

it's not really about the how-to's as everyone pretty much knows those basics: stop using plastic water bottles, recycle, walk more, etc. and there are plenty of online resources for that info. it's more about the mental and perhaps spiritual journey that he went on by being more mindful of his impact. he talks about analyzing his life, taking it apart and only rebuilding it in a way that is truly beneficial to his family.

i've had similar thoughts and realizations as i green my life and think anyone, in any stage of their "green" journey, could benefit from it.

Tiffany said...

Hey Olivia! I've been recycling compulsively ;-) for about 8 years now ... before Peoria even had curbside recycling. I purchase items in the bigger size (like the applesauce you mention) and use small tupperware containers to make the right portion sizes. I understand about the papertowels - that's one I have yet to master. As far as vinegar goes, it's also great for cleaning mirrors or glass ... go ahead and give it a try!

Greg said...

I am all for it. When do we get started? j/k. :) - Me