Over the course of the past few years, I’ve been making some greenish changes in my life (and not just the new blog color!). Along with the seemingly never-ending quest to eat less (making a smaller, leaner Ima), I’ve been trying to consume less in other ways. I want a smaller, leaner life. More balance, less excess. I’m making the move to a greener existence.
I’m buying less packaged foods. By focusing on the outer edges of the grocery store, I’m purchasing foods that have less packaging. I still hit the aisles because I do need some convenience items but I try to stay away from overly packaged goods. I’m buying in bulk when I can and when it makes sense. I’m fine-tuning my grocery shopping in an attempt to not throw away food because it’s spoiled. I could go on and on about my love of the FoodSaver for protecting food from spoilage and freezer burn but Duchess Jane has already covered that topic completely AND with pictures. I make stock from chicken, ham, and beef bones (shrimp is next!) along with peelings from my veggies. There are articles on easy stock making here and here. I’m buying some organic foods.
I’m purchasing less stuff. I’ve never been much of a shopper, so that helps. I use lists to keep me away from those impulse purchases. I try to only buy those things I need and/or love. My new peep-toe black pumps fall into both of those categories!
I play a little game with myself since, admittedly, I drive one of those shame-inducing larger vehicles. I have a gauge that tells me what my current gas mileage is. Sure, it does the average, too, but by keeping my eye on the current number, I can see that gunning it makes it go down (duh) while a slow, steady pressure on the gas pedal has less of a bad effect on my mileage. It’s an ongoing contest with myself to see how high I can keep it. I try to figure out the shortest route to where I’m going and I combine trips as much as possible.
I suck at this. I’m working on it. I leave the TV on when I’m going to sleep; although I do put it on sleep timer. I have a hard time remembering to turn the water off while I’m brushing my teeth but am working on that one, too. I’m slowly but surely replacing my light bulbs with these super-efficient, long lasting ones. They last for YEARS.
I’m trying to give away much of the stuff I have in my home that I don’t need or love. If I feel “eh” about it, it’s going to end up at Hannah Home or Goodwill sometime soon. I’m not going all FlyLady about it (she scares me) but I’m trying to get rid of at least five things each weekday. MrWurdi’s son was talking last year about people who let their stuff own them. He’d been preparing to hike the Appalachian Trail and was, therefore, figuring his bare necessities so I suppose that had him pondering what he (we) really need. We end up accumulating so much stuff that we soon have to live in a bigger place or rent storage to keep up with all that stuff. We spend large quantities of our time maintaining and repairing our stuff. With all the time and money and effort we spend on our stuff, it ends up being our stuff owning us rather than us owning it. I will not be owned by my stuff.
We’re just getting started on this. Our local pick-up doesn’t have a large range of items they pick up for recycling but I suppose every little bit helps.
How Green Are You?
NPR has a neat, little quiz to help show you how green you are. The Consumer Consequences game asks questions about your lifestyle. While you play the game, it keeps up with how many planet "Earths" of natural resources it would take to sustain the 6.6 billion people on this one Earth - if everyone lived the way you do.
I know I’m not going to live completely green. I drive an Avalanche and a ’77 Corvette (with a high performance engine). That’s not at all green. So, I make the changes I can and am willing to make. I also try to balance the “me stuff” by doing for others. Whether it’s raising funds for breast cancer research with Team GDT or donating goods or volunteering for a local clinic or goofing off, improving my vocabulary, and donating food to hungry people or just trying to help my family when I can, I try to make it all even out. Balance, not fanaticism about anything.
I’m always looking for ways I can be more green. Any ideas?